Breastfeeding is an emotional bond between you and your baby, but doing it for an extended period not only builds upon that bond but also helps to ensure your child builds a great foundation for his/her development both physically and mentally.
After delivery, a mum might make the decision to start breastfeeding for 6 months and sometimes even up to over a year. However, some mummies end up not meeting their goals due to a lack of information on its prolonged benefits and feeling like they might not have enough support for it.
It helps with a higher IQ later in life
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Researchers from Australia revealed that babies that are breastfed for longer than six months are more likely to be mentally stable in adulthood.
And in their report in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers from Telethon Institute for Child Health Research said that breastfeeding help babies cope better with stress and promote a better mother-child bonding.
Dr. Wendy H. Oddy and her colleagues studied more than 2,000 children born to mothers enrolled in the Western Australia Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. These kids underwent mental assessments when they were 2, 5, 8, 10, and 14 years old.
At each of the assessments, researchers observed that children who were breastfed for less than six months exhibited negative behaviours such as depression and aggression.
According to a new Brazillian study published in March 2015, breastfeeding longer has also been linked to a higher IQ later in life. Starting in 1982, researchers followed over 3000 babies into their early 30’s and found that individuals who were breastfed from birth scored 8 points higher on IQ tests compared those that were formula-fed.
These individuals stayed in school longer and were more financially stable. Though some might argue that it should not be the only factor that determines the results, the study made sure to factor in parent’s educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Breast milk changes as your baby continues to grow
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As your child goes through his/her developmental stages, your breast milk will continue to change to fit his/her nutritional needs. It’s a part of your body’s protective mechanism to the child – helping to reduce the risk of illness and infections during the weaning stages, especially when slowly being introduced to more solids and less breast milk.
With its many medical benefits, it also helps lower the risk of cancer in mother and baby and increases it’s built-in protective efforts the longer you breastfeed.
Allergies can also be soothed through breast milk, especially when it causes fussiness and digestive problems that bring along crankiness and general discomfort. Cow’s milk and soy are the most common allergens as they lack lactose – a milk sugar that is key in the child’s growth and development.
With various contradicting studies coming out about breastfeeding, mothers are surely getting more and more confused. What’s a mother to do if one group says breastmilk doesn’t really benefit babies and another says it helps keep a child mentally stable?