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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do Breast-Fed Babies Really Grow Up Smarter?

Smart baby

A recent study done by researchers in Brazil suggested some startling long-term benefits to babies who are breastfed -- including higher IQs. The study also indicated that the longer mothers breastfeed their babies, the better the results. Yet far fewer black mothers breastfeed their babies. The reasons why might surprise you.

Benefits of breastfeeding

Researchers studied data on 3,500 babies born in Brazil over a 20-year period. Their data indicated that breastfed babies ended up with higher IQs, more years of school and higher incomes compared to babies who were not breastfed. Many other health officials disputed the results, adding that the link between breastfeeding and intelligence was not strong, and that other factors such as the IQ of the parents as well as the parents' education and socio-economic states were of equal or more importance.

However, the study maintains that babies who are breastfed for a year or more grow up with IQs 4 points higher, more years of schooling, and higher incomes than babies who were not breastfed.

So, why don't more black mothers breastfeed?

According to the Centers For Disease Control, hospital "facilities in zip codes with more than 12.2 percent black residents were less likely than hospitals in zip codes with fewer black residents to meet five of 10 indicators that show hospitals are supporting breastfeeding." According to the CDC, many hospitals are simply not teaching new black mothers how to breastfeed, and helping new mothers learn in the hospital when their babies are born will most likely determine how successful they will be in continuing to breastfeed after returning home.

Regardless of whether or not the Brazilian study is 100 percent accurate, the undisputed fact is that breastfeeding is important for babies from an improved overall health perspective and should be encouraged among all new mothers.

For more details about the study, visit
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