Most of us know that breastfeeding has all sorts of great health benefits for kids, including better immune system function, fewer allergies, and lowered risk of obesity, tooth decay, pneumonia, and ear infections. New research from Tel Aviv University has added one more benefit: protection against ADHD in the teen years.
Aviva Mimouni-Bloch and her colleagues studied data on the first year of life of three groups of children ages 6-12: one group consisted of kids who’d been diagnosed with ADHD, another was non-ADHD siblings of children with ADHD, and the third was a control group of kids without ADHD. One of their biggest findings was that children who were bottle-fed at three months were three times more likely to have ADHD than those who were being breastfed at the same age.
Looking at it from a different angle, at three months of age, only 43% of children is the ADHD group were being breastfed, compared to 695 of the non-ADHD siblings and 735 of the non-ADHD control group. And at six months, 29% of the kids in the ADHD group were still being breastfed, vs. 50% of the sibling group and 57% of the control group.
Of course, as with so much other research, the big question is Why? Unfortunately, no one knows for sure. Mimouni-Bloch, who published the results of her study in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, suggests that it could be something in the breast milk itself or it could be the close contact between the nursing mom and her baby. But does it really matter? To quote Nike, Just do it!