The long one breastfeeding contributes to a child's greater intelligence, to his higher educational qualification and to his greater income in adulthood, according to the results of a Brazilian study cited by France Press.
However, expert Dr. Erik Mortensen from the University of Copenhagen noted that these conclusions need to be confirmed by the results of other studies.
Breastfeeding is encouraged by the World Health Organization, which presents it as one of the most effective ways to ensure good health and long life of the child.
She recommends breastfeeding until 6 months of age, but admits that currently less than 40 percent of babies are breastfed until they are six months old. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Pelotash.
It covered about 3500 children born in 1982 and breastfed for various periods after their birth. 30 years later, the researchers found that breastfeeding had a beneficial effect on the participants compared to other children who were not breastfed.
In addition, the scientists found that the longer breastfeeding was the baby, the greater the beneficial effect.
According to them, the IQ of those who were breastfed for a year was 4 points higher than that of those who were breastfed for less than a month.
Those who have breastfed for one year have a higher educational qualification, and their income is three times higher than the average for the country.
To reach these conclusions, the scientists took into account variables that could affect the results, such as the parents' standard of living, the mother's age at birth and whether or not she smoked during her pregnancy.
"The likely mechanism that could explain the beneficial effect of breast milk on intelligence is the presence of saturated amino acids, which play an essential role in brain development," said study leader Dr. Bernardo Lesa Horta.
A previous study by British scientists showed that breastfeeding from 3 to 12 months of age has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. The results of the study were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.