3 New Reasons to Breastfeed (It May Boost Your Child's IQ!)

Recent studies shed light on some new and important benefits of breastfeeding.


It seems like every day brings another great reason to breastfeed, whether it's benefitting baby, mama or both!

In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we've rounded up three new studies that provide more evidence that breast is best, from boosting your child's IQ to possibly decreasing your risk of getting Alzheimer's Disease.

According to the latest research, breastfeeding may ...

1. Reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease

A small study from the University of Cambridge, published last month in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, suggests that mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing the degenerative brain disorder.

Bonus for moms who stick with it: Breastfeeding for longer periods of time further reduced the risk. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby's life, followed by in combination with solid food until at least 12 months.)

Good for mom, good for baby: Recent research shows that that breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Children who breastfeed for more than six months are also less likely to develop some childhood cancers.

2. Boost your child's IQ

A study from Boston Children's Hospital, recently published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that longer breastfeeding duration was associated with better receptive language in 3-year-old children and improved verbal and nonverbal IQ in 7-year-old children.

Plus, another study, published online in NeuroImage in June, found that breastfed infants show improved brain development by age 2.

More baby benefits: Breastfeeding helps your baby fight colds and reduces his chance of coming down with ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and other illnesses. There is also some evidence that breastfeeding protects babies born to families with a history of allergies.

3. Help with stuttering

A study out of the University of Illinois, published in June in the Journal of Communication Disorders, revealed a significant relationship between breastfeeding duration and the likelihood of natural recovery for boys suffering from stuttering. "The fatty acid profile of human milk, with its potential to affect both gene expression and the composition of neural tissue, may explain this association," the authors say.

Looking for more great reasons to breastfeed? Here are 18 more surprising benefits, from reducing your baby's chance of SIDS to helping you stay slim!