“Thank you, West Virginia ... thank you, Indiana,” we heard, but what about, “Thank you, Mom?” A new study by a team of international researchers supports that breast-feeding appears to make children smarter. I breast-fed for a year, never cheating by mixing in baby formula, happily having opted for what they’ve now found is the winning formula.
I had no expectation that having my son attached to me for as many as eight hours a day would ultimately save money on an SAT tutor. I’d been told that breast-fed babies were likely to be healthier, motivation enough for me, though I was surprised to find that a nursing mother has less free time than the president of the United States. And that was before Bush!
This study is unique in that it was designed to eliminate differences that may exist between women who choose to breast feed and those who don’t. To create random groups, half of the 14,000 mothers involved were encouraged to breast-feed while the rest were not. The message was effective, and at six months, 50 percent of the “encouraged moms” were still nursing versus 36 percent of others.
Previous studies have shown that mothers who favor breast-feeding or those who do it longer tend to be smarter and more invested in their babies. These researchers were trying to measure only the effects of breast-feeding. They concluded that it significantly raises the intelligence levels though it’s not clear how. Funding for this project clearly did not come from formula or baby bottle manufacturers.
We woke this morning to hear how blue collar workers and older white women voted, but no exit polls reported on the breast-fed baby vote.