Study: Breastfed Infants Show Fewer Behavior Problems Later in Life

According to Oxford researchers, infants who are breastfed for four months or longer develop fewer behavior problems later in life, the BBC News reported.The study examined 10,000 mothers and their babies as part of the Millennium Cohort study.  The mothers were asked to assess problems in their children by the age of five, including anxiousness and clinginess, restlessness, and lying or stealing.

Only 6 percent of the breastfed children showed signs of behavior problems compared with 16 percent of the formula-fed children, even when controlling for age, education, and socio-economic background of the mother.

Researchers propose the effect may be due to the make-up of the breastmilk, which containes large amounts of a particular type of fatty acid, as well as growth facotrs and hormones which aid in brain and nervous system development

As an alternative theory, researchers also say that breastfeeding may lead to better mother-baby interaction.

Breastfeeding has previously been linked with other health benefits for babies, including lower rates of infection and less obesity in later life.

The study was published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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