Posted by: kulanjiyil | May 7, 2008

THE BENEFIT OF BREAST-FEEDING

 

 

        In a recent study published by Kramer et al in the Journal of Archives of General Psychiatry it is reported that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children’s cognitive development. In a randomized trail conducted in thirty-one Belarusian maternity hospitals and their allied polyclinics, researchers monitored 13,889 children, up at age 6 ½ years. The study revealed that the breast-fed children demonstrated higher cognitive development than the formula-fed children with significantly higher verbal IQ scores and teacher ratings for reading and writing.

 

        This study confirms some of the earlier studies that have indicated both intellectual benefits and health benefits of breast feeding. Some other studies have found psychological benefits for both the mother and the child. Breast-feeding is said to contribute to added emotional bond between the mother and the child. Breast feeding is still prevalent in many societies around the world. Although the practice is rare in developing nations, doctors in those countries are now encouraging the practice.  Check this out: Arch. Gen Psychiatry, May 2008; 65: 578 – 584

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Responses

  1. It’s perplexing to me that women who have access to medical studies and information which consistently indicate that “breast is best” would not do everything in their power to give their children an optimum start in life. The same mothers who buy top of the line strollers, high chairs, baby furniture, etc. for their babies will, in many cases refuse to breastfeed, convincing themselves that formula is just as good. A couple of things come to mind when thinking about possible reasons for the low rates of breastfeeding.

    Doctors, in many cases, refuse to take a stand or offer firm guidance on breastfeeding. They have little to no knowledge of breastfeeding and tiptoe around the issue so they don’t offend their patients.

    Society is not as supportive of breastfeeding as it needs to be. Perhaps this has to do with the sexualization of breasts in the Western world. I have known many a breastfeeding mother who have endured dirty looks or rude comments while discreetly breastfeeding in public places.

    The effects on society and children from the low rates of breastfeeding are myriad. The increased health care costs of increased ear infections, asthma, and obesity alone is enormous, not to mention the costs of increased childhood cancers. One can only imagine the costs, tangible and intangible, of lower IQ’s. I would also venture to say that child abuse rates would be lower if breastfeeding rates were higher, although I’ve never seen any studies that addressed this. Most babies are instantly comforted by the act of breastfeeding, held tightly in their mothers arms. There’s not a lot of anxious, stressful guessing about why your baby is crying…breastfeeding satisfies most needs, physical and emotional.

    It’s an incredibly beautiful, powerful act of love and selflessness.


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