The benefits of breastfeeding are countless, and any breastfeeding mother knows she is doing the best thing for her child, no matter the gender. A recent study further confirms breast is best, especially for little boys, at least Down Under.
Published in Pediatrics, researchers found boys breastfed for at least six months outperformed their peers in academic tests.
The International News reports:
The research, which followed more than 1,000 Australian children, found that 10-year-old boys who had been predominantly breastfed until at least the age of 6 months did somewhat better on a set of academic tests.
Compared with boys who’d been breastfed for less time, they scored an average of 10 percent higher in math and writing, 8 percent higher in spelling and 6 percent higher in reading.
Of course, parenting is also a factor, and researchers did account for parental education level and socioeconomic status in the study. Breastfeeding was still associated with higher cognitive abilities even in consideration of these other factors.
Researchers are not sure why the cognitive benefits were not present in the girls in the study.
There is evidence that boys are more vulnerable to “adversity” during critical periods of brain development than girls are. It’s possible, Oddy explained, that the estrogens in breast milk, thought to have a protective effect on brain cells, benefit boys more than they do girls.
Another theory is that boys might gain more from the mother-child bonding that comes with breastfeeding.
“A number of studies have found that male babies are more dependent on maternal attention to help develop their cognitive and language skills,” Oddy said.
Obviously, this information is not meant to dissuade mothers from breastfeeding their little girls.