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Link Between Breast-Feeding and Child's IQ Debunked

By Robert Preidt
Breast-feeding offers many benefits, but boosting your child's IQ is not one of them, says a U.K. study of almost 5,500 American children and their mothers.

Breast-fed babies may be smarter, but that's only because their mothers are smarter, suggests the study, which found that mothers who were more intelligent were more than twice as likely to breast-feed their babies.

Mothers who breast-fed their infants were also more likely to be older, to have more education, and to provide a more stimulating home environment for their babies. They were also less likely to smoke or to live in poverty.

The findings were published recently in the British Medical Journal.

The link between breast-feeding and intelligence was first suggested in 1929. Subsequent research that supported that association failed to explore other factors, including a mother's intelligence.

The authors of this study, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said they were surprised that a mother's intelligence as a factor had been overlooked in other research.

While breast-feeding doesn't boost a baby's IQ, it is important for the healthy growth and development of infants and offers many benefits to both mother and child, the study authors emphasized in a prepared statement.

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