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    Breastfeeding duration boosts cognitive growth in children

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    A positive relationship appears to exist between the length of time a mother spends breastfeeding and language and intelligence when a child is older, a new study published online on July 29 in JAMA shows.

    Although research has shown that breastfeeding can boost a child’s cognitive growth, it is rare to find studies that measure how long a woman has breastfed and its tie-in to cognitive development. In addition, no studies have looked at how maternal diet while breastfeeding impacts a child’s cognitive progression.

    For the study, authors from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston evaluated child cognition at ages 3 and 7 and its association with maternal time spent breastfeeding. They also looked at the degree to which maternal consumption of fish during breastfeeding changed the relationship between infant feeding and future cognitive development.

    For the prospect cohort study, called Project Viva, recruitment of women for the US prebirth cohort was done from April 1999 to July 2002. Children were followed until age 7 and a total of 1312 mothers and children were involved.

    After adjusting for sociodemographics, maternal intelligence, and home environment, researchers concluded that a longer time spent breastfeeding was linked to higher Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test score at age 3 years, as well as higher intelligence on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test at age 7 years.

    On the Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities, benefits to offspring at age 3 years were associated with maternal consumption of 2-plus servings of fish each week during breastfeeding, compared with less than 2 servings of fish a week.


     

     

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