Are breastfed babies smarter than the ones who are not? Read on to find more about how long-term breastfeeding can help to improve intelligence of children.
It was highly debatable even a few years back if longer breastfeeding ensured higher intelligence in children. Results of recent research have however shown how it has been proven that in most cases long term breastfeeding did contribute to the intelligence of a child. This has been however proved based on a case study conducted by some scientists.
In older times, people did believe that breastfeeding a child for a longer period did contribute a great deal to the child's overall development and health. Mother's milk has various important nutrients which is essential in the growing stages of a child's life. Let us look at why and how mother’s milk actually helps enhance or improve a child's intelligence.
1. Essential Nutrients
It is a known fact that mother’s milk contains a lot of nutrients that are essential for a growing child. Mother’s milk has high rate of iron, much more than what you get in the standard formula milk. Brain cells grow for a very short time in an individual. They stop growing around 5 years of age. While they are growing the nerve cells of the brain require lots of iron for better growth. We all know that more the growth of brain cells higher is the IQ of the child. Obviously, if the body gets more iron, it will enhance the growth of the brain cells. That is one reason that justifies why kids who are breastfed longer tend to have higher intelligence.
2. Contact with Mother
Another way breastfeeding helps the intelligence of the child is because it makes the child have more contact with the mother. No, we are not talking about something unscientific. Mothers generally tend to speak to their child while they are breastfeeding. This talk of the mother is absorbed by the infant and it helps to enhance their vocabulary and make them more intelligent.
The child listens to the mother, uses its brain to understand her, uses its hearing power, all of which contributes to its brain being used. More the brain being used, more it will be exercised and develop. A good deal of development of the brain cells from an early age contributes to the child's intelligence later.
Studies say that breastmilk contains a lot of immunity providing nutrients that prevent the child from falling prey to certain diseases. A fit child can obviously find more leisure and energy to learn more, read books and acquire more knowledge. Children who are sick from birth cannot always excel intellectually as their health is often a barrier to higher achievement. Therefore, a fit physical body is essential to develop intellectually, which is one of the reasons breastmilk contributes to a child having more opportunity to acquire a higher IQ.
4. Fatty Acids
Breastmilk is richer in fatty acids than the formula powder. Fatty acid is essential for brain cells to grow and develop. A deficiency can lead to less developed brain cells and less IQ. It is common knowledge that greater number of brain cells lead to higher IQ. Therefore, a child who gets mother's milk for a long time develops better brain cells and IQ than one who does not.
In conclusion however, it must be mentioned that while studies did prove the fact that breastfeeding can enhance IQ, there are several variables. The study conducted had some gaps, and there are obviously exceptions to every rule. Also IQ depends on genetics, environmental factors and training by parents. Longer period of breastfeeding cannot always ensure an intelligent child. It has been seen that the IQ level of children who were breastfed for longer is more by a maximum of 4 points. You can improve your child's IQ with training. However, mothers are requested to breastfeed for as long as possible.
Can long-term breastfeeding help in boosting intelligence of children? Which factors influence the IQ level of children? How to boost intelligence of children? Discuss here.