Monday, October 23, 2006

Day 200 - I Am Milk

I meant to put this story up the other day, and then got sidetracked with other things and forgot about it - I have a memory* like a sieve half the time. I used to be able to blame my mother and say it was because she hadn't breastfed me. Now the Medical Research Council and University of Edinburgh have conspired to remove that excuse and it turns out I've just got a crap memory.

What have the MRC and the University of Edinburgh done to make me take responsibility for my own mental incapacity? They reckon they've discoverd that breastfeeding has no effect on the intelligence of the child.

So, what does? Well, breastfed kids tend to be brighter than non-breastfed because their mothers are more likely to be cleverer in the first place. Breastfeeding mums tend to be better educated, brighter and more likely to provide a stimulating home environment.

The research, done on 5,000 kids and 3,000 monthers in the US suggested that if you took a mother's intelligence and educational attainment in to account, there were no appreciable differences between breastfed and nonbreastfed.

Of course, this is not to suggest that breastfeeding isn't the best method for feeding the baby. One day's breastmilk can stabilise a baby's blood sugar levels, and provides a kickstart to its immune system and is generally considered to be hugely important to children's well being.

Of course, like bloody every other thing to do with children, if you ask someone else, they'll tell you they know different. The National Childbirth Trust mentions a study in the Philippines - where the poor are more likely to breastfeed - and that says that there is a causal link. So who knows?
I suppose all it really says is that, one way or another, despite the differences in opinion, it seems the smart thing to do is to breastfeed if you can.

* no need to write and tell me intelligence and memory are not the same thing; just my my little conceit

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