A long-term study published in The Lancet Global Health has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. The research in Brazil traced nearly 3,500 babies, and results appear to back current advice that babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months.
Dr Bernardo Lessa Horta, from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, said his study offers a unique insight because in the population he studied, breastfeeding was evenly distributed across social class – not something just practised by the rich and educated.
Most of the babies, irrespective of social class, were breastfed – some for less than a month and others for more than a year.
Those who were breastfed for longer scored higher on measures of intelligence as adults.
They were also more likely to earn a higher wage and to have completed more schooling.