Navigation Links
Do Breast-Fed Baby Boys Grow Into Better Students?

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to reports that breast-feeding boosts brain health, a new study finds that infants breast-fed for six months or longer, especially boys, do considerably better in school at age 10 compared to bottle-fed tots, according to a new study.

''Breast-feeding should be promoted for both boys and girls for its positive benefits," said study leader Wendy Oddy, a researcher at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Australia.

For the study, published online Dec. 20 in Pediatrics, she and her colleagues looked at the academic scores at age 10 of more than a thousand children whose mothers had enrolled in an ongoing study in western Australia.

After adjusting for such factors as gender, family income, maternal factors and early stimulation at home, such as reading to children, they estimated the links between breast-feeding and educational outcomes.

Babies who were mainly breast-fed for six months or longer had higher academic scores on standardized tests than those breast-fed fewer than six months, she found.

But the outcome varied by gender, and the improvements were only significant from a statistical point of view for the boys. The boys had better scores in math, reading, spelling and writing if they were breast-fed six months or longer.

Girls breast-fed for six months or longer had a small but statistically insignificant benefit in reading scores.

The reason for the gender differences is unclear, but Oddy speculates that the protective role of breast milk on the brain and its later consequences for language development may have greater benefits for boys because they are more vulnerable during critical development periods.

Another possibility has to do with the positive effect of breastfeeding on the mother-child relationship, she said. "A number of studies found that boys are more reliant than girls on maternal attention and encouragement for the acquisition of cognitive and language skills. If breastfeeding facilitates mother-child interactions, then we would expect the positive effects of this bond to be greater in males compared with females, as we observed."

The researchers tried to account for the mothers' education in their assessment.

"We took into account mom's education and family income because we have seen before in other studies that mothers who are better educated tend to breastfeed for longer, and also read and look at books more often with their children," Oddy explained. "We took these factors into account in the analysi so as not to skew the results -- and babies breastfed for longer still did better in terms of their educational scores at 10 years of age."

It's been long understood that breast milk is of great value to infant neurological development. "Nutrients in breast milk that are essential for optimum brain growth, such as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, may not be in formula milk," the researchers noted.

The new data should not discourage mothers of daughters from breast-feeding, added Dr. Ruth Lawrence, director of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York.

"Because we know the constituents of human milk are so important for brain development, I would not be the least bit discouraged [about] breast-feeding a girl by such data," said Lawrence, also a member of the advisory council of La Leche League International, a breast-feeding advocacy group.

Earlier this year, Oddy published a study suggesting that infants who were breast-fed longer than six months were less likely to have mental health problems as teenagers.

This new study ''adds to growing evidence that breast-feeding for at least six months has beneficial effects on optimal child development," the researchers wrote. "Mothers should be encouraged to breast-feed for six months and beyond."

More information

To learn more about breast-feeding, visit the La Leche League International.

SOURCES: Wendy Oddy, Ph.D., Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Unviversity of Western Australia, Perth; Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D. professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology and director of Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine, N.Y., and advisory council member, La Leche League International; Dec. 20, 2010, online Pediatrics -

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Breast-Fed Babies Know When to Say When
2. Autism-Related Hypersensitivity Better Understood
3. Developing guidelines for better reporting of health research
4. Offers 10 Tips To Beat The Winter Blues: Things You Can Do Right Now to Have a Better Day
5. Better care at any hour for palliative patients
6. Patients Do Better at Hospitals That Follow Stroke Guidelines
7. More Expensive Hospital Care May Not Mean Better
8. New MRI May Lead to Better Brain Pictures
9. Biological clock could be a key to better health, longer life
10. Why do physicians order costly CTs? Ultrasound yields better diagnosis, safer, less costly
11. BetterInvesting Magazine Releases May Stock to Study and Undervalued Stock Choices for Investors Informational and Educational Use
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Do Breast-Fed Baby Boys Grow Into Better Students?
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces ... This is one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was ... in Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... MI (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... for substance abuse located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day ... specially produced video, available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Toronto, ON and Cambridge, ON (PRWEB) , ... ... ... announced today the availability of a real-time eReferral system for diagnostic imaging in ... CTs, ultrasounds, X-rays, mammography, BMD and Nuclear Medicine tests directly from their electronic ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... ... The Catalent Applied Drug Delivery Institute today announced a ... selection in early phase drug development. The first of these is to be ... UK’s emerging life sciences companies, corporate partners, and investors, at Milton Park, Oxford, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... accomplishment! On November 19, 2015, our surgeons performed their 6,000th free flap breast ... Ledoux , “We wake up every day excited to rebuild lives and it’s an ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) ... (BLA) with the United States ... a biosimilar candidate to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen ... submitted to the FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA ... E. Harper , M.D., executive vice president of Research ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: