Sunday, October 29, 2006

Breastfeeding for mental health

Although I often skeptical of many of the claims put forward by the hardcore pro-breastfeeders (like this), there are indeed many real reasons to promote breastfeeding. This Austrialian study seems legit. The study followed 2500 kids for 16 years (NB: This is an important point, some mental health problems can manifest themselves in adolescence but many show up later in life). The sample size here is encouraging at least. I hope that the researchers will continue to follow these kids to see if the trends persist.

From the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research

Even when we adjust the results to take into account other factors such as the parents' socio-economic situation, their education, their happiness and family functioning, we see that children that were breastfed for at least six months are at lower risk of mental health problems," Dr Oddy said.

The study found that children who were breastfed for less than six months compared to six months or longer had a 52% increased risk of a mental health problem at 2 years of age, a 55% increased risk at age 6, at age 8 the increased risk was 61% while at age 10 the increased risk was 37%.

The analysis is based on a scientifically recognised checklist of child behaviour that assessed the study childrens behaviour at 2, 6, 8 and 10 years of age.

Dr Oddy said that children that were breastfed had particularly lower rates of delinquent, aggressive and anti-social behaviour, and overall were less depressed, anxious or withdrawn.

"These results are powerful evidence for more support to be given to mothers to help them breastfeed for longer," she said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't need any research. I have the real thing at home.
It was the natural choice for my wife to breastfeed our 1st one till she was 9 months.
It is the natural choice today with our 4 months baby.

They have a connection now that when looking at woman that choose to feed their baby from powder instead of mother nature's choice - I really don't understand it.

It's hard on my wife but in my opinion, if you decide to bring kids to this world, there is more to it then them being what you want. It's more about what you give and the unconditional love.