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Thursday 27th June 2019

Fewer behavioural problems for breastfed babies

10th May 2011

Scientists in Oxford have said babies who are breastfed develop into children who have fewer behavioural issues.


Their research involved 10,000 women and their babies, and was published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The researchers said the reason for this could be due to the composition of breast milk or because breastfeeding improves interaction between mother and child.

The scientists looked at the feeding styles of 10,347 mothers and babies who were part of a larger study called the Millennium Cohort Study.

The mothers were requested to identify issues in their children by the age of five, such as lying, stealing and anxiety.

The study showed 16% of children who were given formula had behavioural problems, compared with only 6% of breastfed babies.

"Our results provide even more evidence for the benefits of breastfeeding," said Maria Quigley of Oxford University, who headed the study.

She explained that breast milk had a significant amount of an important type of fatty acid which vitally affected how the brain and nervous system developed.

"We just don't know whether it is because of the constituents in breast milk, or the close interaction with the mum, or whether it is a knock-on effect of reduced illness in breastfed babies," said Ms Quigley.

"But it does begin to look like we can add fewer behavioural problems as another potential benefit of breastfeeding," she added.


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