The study found that babies who were breastfed for the first six weeks of life were less likely to have special learning needs or behavioral problems.
Babies who were exclusively breastfed or given formula and breast milk for the first six to eight weeks were five times less likely to develop special educational needs (SNEs).
Researchers at the University of Glasgow looked at the health and education data of 191,745 children born in Scotland since 2004 who also attended a public or SEN school between 2009 and 2013.
Of the children included in the study, 66.2% were bottle-fed, 25.3% were breast-fed, and only 8.5% were mixed-fed during the first six to eight weeks.
Overall, 12.1% of children in this study had SES.
However, compared with formula feeding, early mixed feeding and exclusive breastfeeding were associated with a lower risk of SES of 10% and 20%, respectively.
Exclusively breastfed babies were almost one-fifth less likely to experience emotional or behavioral difficulties and a quarter less likely to have physical health problems.
Evidence suggests that breast milk intake in the first few weeks of life can help reduce the risk of developing SES, learning disabilities, and the difficulties that often cause them.
Dr. Michael Fleming, who led the study, said: “We know that many women find it difficult to exclusively breastfeed for the full six months recommended by the World Health Organization. However, our study provides evidence that a shorter period of non-exclusive breastfeeding may improve health.” . However, it is beneficial for the development of the child.
The results of this study suggest that childhood eating patterns can be a modifiable risk factor for special educational needs, which in turn can help reduce the burden on affected children, their families, and society at large.
Breastfeeding has a number of health benefits as it reduces a mother’s chances of certain types of cancer and heart disease and protects the baby from infections while providing ideal nutrition for growth and development.
The study was published in the journal Plos Medicine.
Source: Daily Mail
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