Are Breast Fed Babies Smarter? Breastfeeding Advantages Are HUGE for Mom and Baby
Babies That Are Breastfed Have Higher IQs Than Babies That Are Not Breastfed
Women with higher IQ’s more often choose to breastfeed than women with average or lower IQ’s. Of course parents frequently pass their intelligence genes on to their offspring, and so it should be no surprise that women who choose to breastfeed because of its many advantages have passed their high IQ’s on to their offspring through genetics.
That is currently the most accepted reason by researchers for why breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests than babies that are not, or were not breastfed.
It is not an issue of being smarter as a result of being breastfed, but rather that the breastfed babies have more intelligent mothers (mother’s with higher IQ’s) who breast feed them because they feel it is more beneficial to their babies and to themselves than bottle feeding. Offspring inherits a higher IQ from a mother with a high IQ. While not part of the study, this author supposes women with higher IQs also tend to choose men with higher IQs to father their children. With 2 parents with a high IQ it is even more likely offspring will also have high intelligence.
Please keep in mind that this article is not about my opinion, but about reporting on the findings of various studies.
Babies with one or more parents with high IQ’s tend to have high IQ’s themselves. So while there is a correlation between breastfeeding and high baby IQ’s, the breastfeeding is not at this time considered to be the cause of the higher IQ.
Colostrum Is Packed With Nutrients and More
Colostrum is the first milk produced after baby is born. It is a thick, sticky, yellowish color and it is packed with nutrients and antibodies, low in fat and high in protein and carbohydrates. There is not usually very much of it and it is especially healthful for your new baby.
Studies Show Breast Feeding Reduces the Likelihood That Mom or Baby Will Develop Life Threatening Diseases – and Other Disorders
Women who breastfeed their babies are also less likely to develop breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen website states that they combined 47 different studies on the issue of breast cancer amongst women who breastfed their babies and women who did not.
The results of combining and evaluating these studies were described as “solid.” In other words, the results of the combined studies were very convincing and compelling in accuracy in regard to breastfeeding making a major contribution to the prevention of many diseases for both mother and baby.
Women who breastfeed are not only less likely to develop breast and/or ovarian cancers, but are also less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes, or postpartum depression.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), asthma and respiratory infections, middle ear infections, and Type 2 diabetes. It is believed that breastfeeding may even reduce the likelihood of a baby developing Type 1 Diabetes, (Susan G. Komen).
Science Daily reports that women who breastfeed their babies reduce their chance of developing breast cancer by 59% even when they have a family history of breast cancer! That is a huge reduction in risk. Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, [is the] lead author of [this] study, which is published in the Aug. 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Also in the process of combining and evaluating the results of all these studies, the Susan G. Komen site says that the longer a woman breastfeeds her baby the more she reduces the likelihood of her or her baby developing the diseases listed above.
Additionally, the evaluation of the combined studies showed that the longer a woman breastfed, even if her total time breastfeeding included more than one baby, she reduced her chances even more, of developing certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. So if a woman has more than one baby and breastfeeds all of them, she reduces her own chances of developing the listed diseases even more than if she only breastfeeds one of her babies.
Breast Feeding Has So Many Benefits For Moms and Babies
New babies generally require that a whole new household routine be set up to accommodate them and it can be a little stressful for everyone in the family until the new routine becomes the new normal. Breastfeeding can relieve a lot of the stress of bringing your new baby home and of having a new family member (often very demanding and bossy) in the household.
With breastfeeding there is no messing with bottles and sterilization, and there is no worrying if the milk is the right temperature, or if it might have hot spots in it from warming it in the microwave.
With breastfeeding there is no need to carry a bag full of everything under the sun except the kitchen sink if you go out of the house, and that makes traveling anywhere so much easier. You have Baby’s food with you at all times, it is always ready, and exactly the right temperature.
So in addition to helping to protect your baby and yourself from life threatening and chronic diseases, breastfeeding is convenient -- and it gets better!
Yes, I do speak from experience in these things. I breastfed my baby for 8 months and I am so glad I did. Life was so much more peaceful and calm than it would have been.
Mine was a baby who cried almost continually for the first few weeks. Not having to deal with all the paraphernalia for sterilizing bottles, and not having to make my baby wait for the bottle to get warmed up, and not having to drag all that formula and ‘stuff’ with me every time I went out of the house was such a help.
Menstruation During Breastfeeding
Periods will usually not resume until one begins to wean one’s baby and breastfeeding becomes less frequent. Be aware that not having periods as a result of breastfeeding does not mean a woman cannot become pregnant. Pregnancy can and does happen even without periods (while a woman is breastfeeding), so be sure to use birth control with your doctor’s guidance as usual, unless you want to become pregnant again.
Also be aware that while most women do experience cessation of periods while breastfeeding, there are a few who do not.
No Poopy Diapers and No Periods
With breastfeeding, before solids and other foods are added, Baby usually has no bowel movements. and Mom usually has no periods. Removing those events from one’s life is worth breastfeeding one’s baby even without all of the other advantages.
This was my experience while breastfeeding and it made life so much easier given that I already had to deal with a baby who would not stop crying – except when breastfeeding. When she was breastfeeding she was content.
Not having to deal with periods or poopy diapers for the first 2 months after bringing my baby home was so nice! Poopy diapers started when solids were introduced to my baby’s diet (at about 2 months old) – but still no periods! J
Breastfeeding your baby will help protect him or her from a lot of sickness. Not only will your baby benefit from the antibodies in your body, which will be passed on to your baby through your breast milk, but also, there is no chance your baby will get germs from bottles and tainted foods.
La Leche League
During my pregnancy I read a book written by the staff members of La Leche League. It was titled, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding,” and it explained all about breastfeeding.
The book answered many of the questions I had about breastfeeding, and it was a great help to me. It even pointed out things I needed to know but never would have thought of, not having had any previous experience with breastfeeding.
There are La Leche League groups in many countries all over the world, and in most cities of any size here in the U.S. These groups are made up of mothers who have breastfed their babies and can be helpful in answering any questions a new mother or first time breastfeeding mother might have.
For help in locating a La Leche group in your area, or for getting answers to your questions and concerns about breastfeeding, click here.
Heating Milk for Baby
Everyone knows that when you microwave the baby bottle full of milk that like anything else it tends to have spots in it that are hotter than others, right? Some of those spots may be scalding hot. So if you microwave your baby’s bottle be sure to shake it well before testing it on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot. Better if it is a little too cool than for baby to get a bad burn inside his/her mouth, throat, or esophagus, etc.
Instead of microwaving, I used to heat a small pan of water on the stove until it boiled. Then I took the pan off the burner and set the baby bottle full of milk from the refrigerator in the pan of hot water for about 10 minutes. I shook the bottle and tested the temperature of the milk on my wrist to make sure it was not too hot before giving it to my baby – my baby was being weaned at this point.
TIP: It is important when cleaning baby bottles to rinse out every speck of soap because even a tiny amount of soap unintentionally left in the bottle can cause your baby to have diarrhea.
Stylish Nursing Covers
Calm and Patience Are Your Best Friends When It Comes to Breastfeeding
For those of you who have made it this far, here is a short account of my own experience with breastfeeding. I hope it will be helpful to women who are planning to breastfeed for the first time.
Having talked with and read about women over the years who had some problems the first time they attempted breastfeeding, I hope that knowing about my experience, which had some issues initially, will be encouraging when new mothers run into a problem. Problems can often be resolved with patience, determination, and calm common sense.
The message here is that even if you come up against a difficulty or two, do not assume that breastfeeding cannot work for you and your baby and then give up. As with anything new, there is a learning curve. If everyone who ever ran into a small problem that seemed like a huge confusing problem at the time, gave up, our civilization would not be nearly as far along as it is.
Having put in 70 hours of labor, yes 70, during which time I ate nothing and slept not at all, I was exhausted and emotionally drained by the time I gave birth.
It is advised that a woman not eat once she starts labor and is about to give birth because she should remain prepared for surgery in the event complications unexpectedly occur (this is rare, but it could happen and one should be prepared). Surgery and anesthesia are safest and best performed on a person with an empty stomach. So I was hungry, and tired beyond description long before the birth of my baby.
I do not blame my doctor or medical assistants for my situation even though they kept sending me home because I had not dilated sufficiently. My baby was born on MediCal, which made no allowance for any of the niceties that women with private insurance received.
MediCal made no allowance for an epidural or any kind of pain medication, but that was OK with me because I had decided months before that I did not want an epidural, and I wanted no drugs involved in my baby’s delivery.
I wanted to have my baby naturally. My mother had all 5 of us kids at home with no epidural and no drugs. Before that women used to give birth successfully without these medical interventions for centuries, so I felt I would be able to manage too, and I did. No, I did not even shout obscenities or cuss my baby’s father at any time, and my baby’s father was with me almost the entire time.
Not saying other women should do what I did, or that the choices other women make for themselves are wrong or inferior in any way if they were different from my own decisions. I am only stating the facts of my own experience here so you will better understand why it took so long for my milk to come in.
We are not all the same and some people manage different things better than others. While I got through it, I will not tell you it was fun. Mainly I want you to understand that I was a wreck after all those hours and hours of labor and pain and thinking it would never end. As a result, my milk would not come in for my baby. I needed to relax and after all the hours of labor relaxing took time.
My purpose is not to get sympathy, because in fact I did not want any medications or epidural, even though they were not available to me. I would have refused them even if they had been offered. I do not regret my choices or my experience, because I had a beautiful healthy baby when it was over, and that was my goal. I wanted what I felt was best for my baby and that was the reason for the decisions I made.
Having read about babies born groggy from drugs given to their mothers during labor to speed things up and/or numb the pain, I did not want my baby born groggy. So in that sense, me, and MediCal, were in agreement, even if for different reasons.
So the point of all this is for my readers to understand that because of all I had gone through, my milk did not come in as it should have right away. Being stressed is not good for nursing.
My Solution While I Waited for My Milk
What I did was attempt to nurse my baby for about 30 minutes when each feeding was due, which made my baby happy and she stopped crying while she was feeding. After that I gave her formula to make sure she received liquids and nourishment. I also made a baby bottle of room temperature water available to her. The water was purchased, and marketed as sterilized for babies. So for the first 4 days I did have to deal with sterilizing bottles.
I was told that it is usually not advised to give a baby a bottle or formula if you plan to breastfeed because many babies have a difficult time going from the bottle to the breast, and from formula to breast milk.
That is the reason I started with breastfeeding even if it was not providing much if any breast milk at first -- because I remained hopeful that my milk would come fairly soon with patience. At the same time I did not want my baby dehydrated or hungry because of the situation. So I always started with breastfeeding and ended with the bottle until my own milk came in.
It was the 4th day after my baby was born that my milk finally came in. Be aware that a woman’s milk is already “in” so to speak, before her baby is even born, but because of my stressful experience it took me and my body several days to relax enough so that my body could do what was natural and allow my milk to flow.
In the early morning of the 4th day, all of a sudden there was more than enough milk, and I was so happy to see that at last everything was as it should be.
What I hope new-mothers-to-be will take from this story is that sometimes patience and determination are what is needed in certain instances. Do not give up if your milk is not available immediately, or even for a few days. If your milk is slow to come in like mine, try not to let that be another stressor. Have confidence in yourself and be patient with yourself. The more relaxed you are the sooner and easier your milk will flow.
Once I relaxed enough so that my milk was available to my baby there was no more bottle washing and sterilizing and no more formula for my baby until she was 7 months old when I started weaning her. There was never an issue of going from the bottle to the breast, probably because of the way I went about nursing my baby from the start – before giving her a bottle of formula.
I had hoped to continue nursing until my baby was a year old, but she started teething . . .
I will tell you that when I started weaning my baby and giving her formula instead, she had a bad reaction to the formula. It often caused her to vomit. So I tried to think of what I could do instead of giving her formula.
I researched exactly what goes into baby formula. When I discovered what the ingredients were, I stopped buying that overpriced formula on the spot. I started making my own formula and there were no more problems resulting from it not setting well with my baby.
Discomfort some people have with breastfeeding . . .
I know lots of people are uncomfortable with this subject, though I confess I do not know why. God made breasts and he made them with a purpose that is more important than the sexual connotations that so many people have been programmed to think of first and foremost when they think about breasts.
I am afraid it is my opinion that people who have only sexually suggestive thoughts about breasts or any other part of the human body should grow up and reprogram themselves to have some practical mature thoughts as well.
As a PSYC major I know that people can control their thoughts no matter what those thoughts entail, so people who oppose breastfeeding and who try to force women who need and want to breastfeed their babies to stop breastfeeding, or to feel ashamed for breastfeeding their babies, need to grow up.
Sexual attraction has its place, and so does breastfeeding one’s baby and doing everything for one’s baby to make and keep them healthy. A healthy attitude about these things can help people to be practical and sensible when that is what is required.
Breastfeeding In Public Places
My first experience in regard to breastfeeding was with a girlfriend. She had been married for 5 years when her first baby arrived. She usually breastfed when she visited me because she stayed through her baby’s feeding time.
You may say, but visiting me was not a public place, but in a way it was, because I was not an immediate member of her family and sometimes there were other people present, including my husband, and her husband too.
Breastfeeding can be done without making a big production out of it. In fact, it is better for Baby if the process is calm and quiet without a lot of distractions around. The food court at the mall may not be the best place to nurse Baby because there are too many distractions.
To insure that her baby was not distracted and would have privacy while she nursed, my friend draped a baby blanket over her shoulder that also draped around her baby like a small tent so that she could see her baby’s face and her baby could see hers, but no one else could see her baby’s face. No one could tell that she was nursing her baby. Nothing about the process was visible to anyone except herself and her baby.
It was seldom that I was in a public place at feeding time with my baby, but on those rare occasions I would sit in the backseat of our family vehicle that was parked in the parking lot of the store or business where my husband and I were shopping or attending to other business. The backseat of our car provided privacy and quiet.
I wore an oversized shirt that draped over my baby in case someone walking by might happen to look into our car. The oversized shirt provided the privacy my baby needed so that she would not be distracted. I had a blanket handy in case it was needed to add more privacy if necessary, as my friend had done.
There really is no reason a woman cannot breastfeed in public places if she does so discreetly with consideration for her baby and her baby’s privacy. Baby will do better with as few distractions as possible during feeding time.
By having consideration for one’s baby during nursing, one just naturally has consideration for the other people who may be around. What works best for baby often works best for people who feel uncomfortable around nursing babies.
I would be very surprised if anyone even realized a woman was breastfeeding if that woman used the method my friend exemplified for me.
Even so, not every public place is the ideal place for nursing and that should be considered when choosing the location. Quiet and calm is best, and that is rarely found at the mall or at a rock concert or any number of other places and situations.
It might not be such a bad idea if more businesses and public places offered a specific place where mothers could go to nurse their babies in private. Perhaps stalls equipped with comfortable chairs and a door that could be shut to provide privacy and as much calm and quiet as possible. This might meet the baby’s needs and satisfy people who are scared to death they may see a bit of breast or recognize when a woman is breastfeeding.
Nursing older babies or toddlers may be another issue. It was not an issue for me because my baby was fully weaned by 9 months of age. However, I do recommend that mother’s continue to nurse their babies for at least 1 full year if possible. How long a mother chooses to nurse is her own decision to make; however a year or so gives more benefit to both mother and baby.
More on Breastfeeding and Child Birth from Au Fait's Friends
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- The Gradual Wean: How to Stop Breastfeeding
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Science Daily on Breastfeeding and Family History of Breast Cancer
© 2013 C E Clark