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Can Breast Milk Make Your Baby Smarter?

August is National Breastfeeding Month—here’s what to know to grow a healthy baby


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ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / TURNERVISUAL

A 30-year study in The Lancet Global Health in March says yes. Researchers in Brazil followed nearly 3,500 babies and found those who were breastfed until at least their first birthdays grew up to have higher IQs (by four points), higher levels of education (an extra .9 more years of school) and more financial success (one-third greater than the national average) than infants breastfed for less than a month. That’s after controlling for 10 variables that could impact a child’s future. Researchers believe long-term exposure to DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid shown to boost learning ability, made the difference. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says NJ breastfeeding rates are slightly better than average —56.2 percent of NJ babies are still breastfed at six months old compared to 49.4 percent of babies nationally. 

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