Forgoing breastfeeding? You’re not hurting your baby in the long-term.
The assumed long-term benefits are that babies who are breastfed grow up to become children who have greater cognitive skills, among other perceived advantages. The researchers behind the Pediatrics study could not fully attribute the long-term benefits to breastfeeding exclusively.
“The easy question — do kids who are breastfed have better outcomes? The answer is yes. The difficult question is: is it breast milk that improves their brain or is it that growing up with parents who are better educated and have better incomes makes a difference?” states Dr. Brooke Orosz, a professor at Essex County College, who is not involved in the study, to CNN.
The findings of the study were collected from a group of 7,478 Irish children. The babies were born full term and were assessed (through a series of questions asked of their parents) at ages 9 months old, three years old and five years old.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that babies be breastfed for a minimum of a full year. The CDC and the Office on Women’s Health emphasize especially the short-term benefits of breastfeeding infants. The Office of Women’s Health explains that there are cells, hormones and antibodies found in breastmilk that could potentially protect newborns from illnesses like asthma or cancer.
Nonetheless, for mothers who are unable to produce enough breast milk to adequately feed their newborn, or who are unable to breastfeed their children for a slew of reasons, the study’s outcome is a welcomed sigh of relief.