A recent study shows that breastfeeding has no direct benefit when it comes to a child’s IQ, compared to bottle feeding.
In a study conducted by the scientists at Goldsmith’s University in London, it was said that “there is no substantial link between breastfeeding and early life intelligence.”
The research observed children who were breastfed alongside a group who were bottle fed, with ages between 18 months old to the age of 16, with their IQs evaluated throughout the study period.
The children’s IQ differences are better described by long-term factors like the children’s family background and their schooling.
Moreover, during the study, girls did discreetly better in early tests, with an average IQ of five points higher, but this evened out by around the age of seven.
Dr. Sophie Von Stumm, who led the study, said, “Children and adults differ in their cognitive abilities, and it is important to identify factors that give rise to these differences.”
The study sampled 11,582 children born between 1994 and 1996 and tested their intelligence nine times between the ages of two and 16 years.
Of the children monitored, 62 percent were breastfed in early life for an average duration of four months, while the remaining 38 percent were bottle fed.
The children’s intelligence levels were evaluated at the ages of two, three, four, seven, nine, 10, 12, 14 and 16, using a variety of different methods.
“Many researchers have previously investigated whether being breastfed in early life benefits IQ,” Dr Von Stumm said.
The researchers expected to see differences in IQ between the infants who were breastfed and those who were bottle-fed at a very early age.
However, the team who have been working on the project for more than 19 years discovered that both groups had the same average IQ throughout the process.
“It’s important to keep in mind that while our study does not indicate a link between breastfeeding and intelligence, breastfeeding potentially has other benefits, for example the development of children’s autoimmune system,” said Von Strumm.