Breastfeeding = better-behaved kids

11.04.08 New study says nursed children less likely to have behavior problems or mental illness


The list of potential benefits from breastfeeding just keeps getting longer, Yahoo! News reports.

A new American Public Health Association (APHA) study found that breastfeeding may have a positive effect on behavior in early childhood, the APHA revealed at its annual meeting last week.

In the study, parents of 1- to 5-year-old children who were breastfed as infants were 15 percent less likely to report concern for the child's behavior than parents of kids who were not breastfed. Plus, breastfed children were 37 percent less likely to have doctor-diagnosed behavior or conduct problems or need mental health care.

The findings also support studies that have showed that breastfeeding enhances intellectual ability in children. Specifically, parents of breastfed children were 23 percent less likely to report concern about their child's ability to learn, according to the APHA report.

Past research has shown that breast milk offers numerous benefits for babies and moms. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, wheezing and other illnesses plus the reduced risk of obesity, diabetes and certain cancers, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For mom, breastfeeding helps burn additional calories, which can help get rid of extra pregnancy weight. Plus, don't forget that it helps both of them bond.

Take a look at our one-stop resource, The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor