Here is more evidence that dads should help moms breastfeed for as long as possible, and for at least six months.
The New York Times reported today on a study in Australia of 1038 babies who were later tested for academic performance at age 10 in math, reading, writing, and spelling. After controlling for mom’s age, marital status, income, and other factors, they found that baby boys who breastfed for at least six months showed better performance for all subjects.
The effect was only for boys. Researchers believe this may be because boys are more vulnerable to stress, and female hormones may have a protective effect.
The study, published in the January 2011 issue of Pediatrics, had a large sample and tracked kids over a long period of time. However, it could not control for all variables including length of maternity leave and marital situation. The New York Times reports, “The results add to the strong evidence that breast-feeding as long as possible is beneficial for child health, but particularly for brain development,” commented the lead author, Wendy H. Oddy. Oddy is an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Western Australia.