Breastfed babies rise higher in society.
Breastfeeding increased the odds of upwards mobility by 24% and reduced the odds of downward mobility by around 20% for both groups.
Intellect and stress accounted for around a third (36%) of the total impact of breastfeeding: breastfeeding enhances brain development, which boosts intellect, which in turn increases upwards social mobility. Breastfed children also showed fewer signs of stress.
The evidence suggests that breastfeeding confers a range of long-term health, developmental, and behavioural advantages to children, which persist into adulthood, say the authors.
They note that it is difficult to pinpoint which affords the greatest benefit to the child -- the nutrients found in breast milk or the skin to skin contact and associated bonding during breastfeeding.
"Perhaps the combination of physical contact and the most appropriate nutrients required for growth and brain development is implicated in the better neurocognitive and adult outcomes of breastfed infants," they suggest. [emphasis mine]
Breastfeeding is good for mom's brain too.
Mothers who breastfeed run a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, with longer periods of breastfeeding further reducing the risk, a new study paper unveiled on Monday.
The paper, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, suggested that the link may be to do with certain biological effects of breastfeeding. For example, breastfeeding restores insulin tolerance which is significantly reduced during pregnancy, and Alzheimer's is characterized by insulin resistance in the brain.