Breastfeeding is already known to have numerous benefits to both the mother and child. It’s well documented that it passes on an important disease-fighting compound called immunoglobulin A. It decreases the mother’s risk for postpartum depression. It slices the child’s chances of becoming obese . It’s becoming surprising that there remains more to find out about the health benefits of breastfeeding.
However, research published this week by in The Journal of Pediatrics  indicates there is in fact more. The study, which examined 180 infants from birth until age seven, was conducted on children born prematurely at the Department of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Though purely observational in nature, the research documented the breast milk intake of babies and compared their IQ, motor skills, and other indicators of their neurological health through standardized tests at age seven. As the statement on EurekAlert  puts it:
The findings show that, across all babies, infants who received predominantly breast milk on more days during their NICU hospitalization had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume, an area important for processing and transmitting neural signals to other parts of the brain, at term equivalent age, and by age seven, performed better in IQ, mathematics, working memory, and motor function tests. Overall, ingesting more human milk correlated with better outcomes, including larger regional brain volumes at term equivalent and improved cognitive outcomes at age 7.
For more information about this stunning research, check out their press release here. Or, if you want to get more technical with it, you can find the original journal article here. For more research news, check out how the Dutch intend on checking out the merit of mindfulness meditation for ADHD. If you want to change gears, you can check out our latest article on the media craze about cockroach milk!