Breastfeeding Associated with Decreased Childhood Behavioral Problems

Children who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from
behavioral or mental health issues than those who are not breastfed,
according to new research.

The study, which was presented at the American Public Health
Association’s 136th Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, looked at
whether breastfeeding is associated with decreased behavioral problems
and psychiatric illness during childhood.

Using 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health data from 102,353
interviews of parents and guardians on the health of their children,
researchers found that parents of breastfed children were less likely to
report concern for the child’s behavior, and breastfed children were
less likely to have been diagnosed by a health professional with
behavioral or conduct problems and were less likely to have received
mental health care. Additionally, parents of breastfed children were
less likely to report concern about the child’s ability to learn.

“These findings support current evidence that breastfeeding enhances
childhood intellectual ability while providing new evidence that
breastfeeding may contribute to childhood emotional development and
protect against psychiatric illness and behavioral problems,” said
Katherine Hobbs Knutson, MD, lead researcher on the study.

Researchers: Katherine Hobbs Knutson, MD and Alexy Arauz Boudreau, MD, MPH
Source: American Public Health Association (APHA)

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