The Length Of Breastfeeding Could Be Linked To Children’s Test Scores

The Length Of Breastfeeding Could Be Linked To Children’s Test Scores

A report published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood has discovered a link between the length of breastfeeding and test scores in adolescents.

Following about 5,000 British children from their infancy in the early 2000s to their last year of high school, the study split participants into groups based on how long they were breastfed: not at all, a few months, or for a year or more. The findings, though not completely conclusive, seem to be the foundation for drawing a clear line of connection between breastfeeding and academic success later in life, according to CNN.

Dr. Reneé Pereyra-Elías, a doctoral student and researcher in the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, says that there was a modest improvement in test scores associated with being breastfed longer, though the findings should not put an unfair expectation on mothers to breastfeed if they’re unable.

“It isn’t possible for every family to breastfeed, and those who don’t should not be shamed or feel guilty that they might be putting their children at a disadvantage,”Pereyra-Elías said.

Careful to point out that the research findings only show the link between breastfeeding and test scores not the actual causation of why the data reflects it.

Dr. Kevin McConway, professor emeritus of applied statistics at the Open University in England, says other socioeconomic factors may be in play. For example, here in the U.S., 66% of Black infants are breastfed compared to more than 82% of white and Latinx moms. However, those numbers don’t reflect the presence of food deserts which account for lack of proper nutrition that contributes to limited milk supply, access to proper maternal health resources and heightened stress levels. These are factors that McConway acknowledges may have been blind spots in the study.

“There may be some confounding factors,” he said. “We did the best we could.”

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