Health scan

Breastfeeding makes children smarter

Children who are breastfed are smarter and do better on intelligence tests than formula-fed children, reports a new study from Harvard Medical School.

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The study of more than 1,300 moms and their babies, who were breastfed for periods ranging from less than a month to more than a year, found that each month of breastfeeding bolstered a 0.3-point increase in intelligence by age 3 and 0.5-point increase by age 7.

The benefit was biggest when babies were breastfed exclusively for the first six months - a target endorsed by the World Health Organisation but often untenable for working moms.

Earlier, a 2010 study in the journal Pediatrics found that children who were exclusively breast-fed for six months or more scored more their formula-fed classmates tests of reading, writing and math at age 10.

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