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There are many health benefits to breastfeeding and scientists just found another one. Studies show that the longer moms breastfeed their kids (up to a year), the more intelligent they become (at ages 3 and 7). Let me explain.
1. Breastfeeding is Tied to Intelligence
In the study, infants were nursed by their mothers for varying lengths (up to a year) and were given language tests at ages 3 and 7. The toddlers and kids that were breastfed longer scored higher on those tests, giving them a 4 point boost in their IQ in relation to the kids who weren’t breastfed for that long.
2. Tell Me More About The Study
Dr. Mandy Belfort led the study of 1,312 mothers and their children at Boston Children’s Hospital. She was quoted in (Yahoo News) saying that this should be a great factor when mothers are debating on how long to nurse their children.
Those involved in the study suggest that the findings promote breast-feeding through the age of around 6 months to 1 year. They also suggest that mothers only give their children breast milk during that time in order to benefit from the results of the study.
This study wasn’t the first of its kind though. There have been studies that showed this kind of cognitive improvement for years. I think I see a pattern, don’t you?
3. What If Breastfeeding Is Difficult?
Breastfeeding is difficult for some mothers. So just remember, if breastfeeding seems difficult, you’re not alone. It could be due to the fact that they go back to work after three months of maternity leave. Others feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. Some women have difficulty breastfeeding (either the breast milk doesn’t develop properly or peanut won’t latch on).
For the latter, there is support. I suggest going to this MOBI Motherhood Article and check up on the possible reasons and solutions.
4. What Other Health Benefits Come From Breastfeeding?
There have been hundreds of studies about breastfeeding that have opened our eyes to its health benefits (for you and peanut). Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of your baby getting certain childhood cancers, Crohn’s diseas, and ulcerative colitis. Others have shown that it helps your baby avoid type 1 and 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and IBM when they get older.
5. Your Breastmilk Is Tailored To Your Baby
The breastmilk that you develop after you give birth is tailored to your specific baby’s needs by the pathogens that were/are in your body while you were carrying peanut. Your breastmilk has secretions in it that was created specifically as protection for your baby based on what you were exposed to when he or she was in your womb. Isn’t biology fascinating?
6. Does Breastfeeding Help Mom?
Yes! Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin (it’s a hormone that promotes nurturing and relaxation). So breastfeeding can reduce your stress level and the chance of you getting postpartum depression.
This kind of stress relief can lead to things like lower blood pressure and less yelling at your husband for the random things that he does. That same hormone (oxytocin) also helps your uterus return to its “normal” size more quickly.
Speaking of returning to your “normal” size. Breastfeeding has been linked to weight loss for mommy because when you breastfeed, your body is working at creating more breast milk. Apparently, there is a theory among scientists that the extra weight that is gained during pregnancy might have served as a source of energy for the act of lactation (for the next year or so).
In addition to that, numerous studies have shown that the longer a mother nurses, the more protected they are from breast and ovarian cancer. Not to mention, there has been a link to breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life.
7. The Strongest Bond
All of those health benefits are amazing but the thing that I think is most interesting and beneficial is the bond created between momma and peanut. Researchers have noted that the bond created between a nursing mom and her baby is the strongest bond in human contact.
Not to mention, there is a certain sense of confidence, and a self-esteem boost knowing that you can provide for your baby without having to do anything but be yourself. You’re pretty awesome, momma!