It now seems that breastfeeding empowers kids to do better at school. According to a recent study triggered by the Oxford University and the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Essex University, even four weeks of breastfeeding a newborn baby has a significant impact on brain development. This effect of breastfeeding allegedly lasts until the child is at least 14 years old.
While conducting the study, experts compared each breastfed baby with one or more babies who were not breastfed, but were otherwise similar in all other respects. Test scores in reading, writing and mathematics for the children at ages five, seven, 11 and 14 revealed a statistically dramatic difference between those who had been breastfed than those who were not. In this investigation, authors aimed to understand whether the relationship between breastfeeding and brain development is caused by breastfeeding alone, or because mothers who breastfeed are likely to have more successful children anyway.
“Comparing the test scores of groups of children matched in this way, we are effectively estimating the causal effect of breastfeeding. We find that breastfeeding does have a causal effect on children’s cognitive outcomes. The difference is statistically significant across English, maths and science scores, and persists into secondary school. Indeed, there is some evidence that the effect tends to grow over time,” enlightened co-author Dr Almudena Sevilla-Sanz, from the Department of Economics and the Centre for Time Use Research at Oxford University.
Scientists evaluated dataset from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children which enrolled 12,000 children born in the early 1990s. All the newborns were matched on a huge range of characteristics, like sex, gestational age, birth weight, their mother’s age and marital status. Even factors such as parents’ job status and education, and their home environment were taken into consideration. Also the parents’ attitudes to breastfeeding were measured before birth.
In conclusion, it was asserted that children who are breastfed do well at school till the age of 14 at least.