Here’s another plus for breastfeeding your babies – you may be helping them avoid behavioral problems as they grow up.
The study, shared last week at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in San Diego, showed that parents of children who were breastfed were 15% less likely to be concerned about their child’s behavior, when compared to formula-fed infants. Additionally, the breastfed children were nearly 40% less likely to have a medically diagnosed behavioral problem.
The chances of developing mental health concerns decreased in proportion to the length of time a child was breastfed. This suggests a child who had been breastfed for 12 months is less likely to experience behavior problems than a child who had been breastfed for two months.
Knutson indicated the “nutritional composition of breast milk might have an effect on the way a baby’s brain develops, and that better nutrition could explain the behavioral differences.”
Previous research has already shown that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both the mother and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that babies who receive breastmilk are less likely to suffer ear infections, diarrhea, asthma, and bacterial or viral infections. Breastfeeding also helps lower the risk of diabetes, certain cancers, obesity, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), while the benefits for a breastfeeding mother include helping the post-partum uterus quickly return to its pre-pregnancy shape, lowering the risk for breast cancer, and helping support a healthy bond between mom and baby.