Study: Breast-Fed Kids Are Less Hyper
A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who are breast-fed for at least six months when they're babies exhibit fewer hyperactive behaviors by age 3 than kids who are not breast-fed. But the study also further debunked another, controversial assumption: namely, that breast-feeding provides children with a boost in intelligence.
Citing data from a study involving 8,000 children in Ireland, researchers noted that while breast-fed babies scored slightly higher on standardized tests measuring cognitive abilities than children who weren't breast-fed, "[the difference] wasn't big enough to show statistical significance," said Lisa-Christine Girard, a child-development researcher at University College Dublin and a co-author of the study.
The Irish study hardly puts to bed the long-standing controversy around breast-feeding and cognitive abilities. "This has been a debate for over 100 years," Girard told NPR. Nevertheless, the vast majority of doctors recommend breast-feeding, when possible, because the benefits for babies and for mothers, including a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life, are too well-documented to ignore.
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