New moms know: Breastfeeding feeding can be hard, and you can be made to feel like a social pariah if you end up not doing it. But a new study published in the academic journal Pediatrics just debunked the claims that nursing makes your kids more intelligent than their bottle-fed peers.
Yep, according to researchers at the University College in Dublin, toddlers who’d been breastfed did score higher on cognitive testing and had fewer behavioral issues. But connecting that to breastfeeding may be an inaccurate link. In fact, the researchers posit that a variety of factors probably contribute to improved smarts and behavior. (For example, the mother’s education, a family’s social class or experiences at school.)
The study doesn’t dismiss the other major benefits of breastfeeding (like the fact that it helps protect babies from respiratory illnesses, ear infections, asthma and more). But it brings to light the idea that, when it comes to child development, there’s a lot at play.
The bottom line: More research needs to be done. But, provided your family prioritizes learning and intelligence, your child will most likely be plenty smart, no matter how he gets his calories in the first year of life.