Breastfeeding Is Positively Associated With Child Intelligence Even Net of Parental IQ

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Abstract

Some previous reviews conclude that breastfeeding is not significantly associated with increased intelligence in children once mother’s IQ is statistically controlled. The conclusion may potentially have both theoretical and methodological problems. The National Child Development Study allows the examination of the effect of breastfeeding on intelligence in two consecutive generations of British children. The analysis of the first generation shows that the effect of breastfeeding on intelligence increases from Age 7 to 16. The analysis of the second generation shows that each month of breastfeeding, net of parental IQ and other potential confounds, is associated with an increase of .16 IQ points. Further analyses suggest that some previous studies may have failed to uncover the effect of breastfeeding on child intelligence because of their reliance on one IQ test.

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