The benefits of breastfeeding have been touted over and over again. Breastfeeding promotes immunity, mother and child bonding, and helps prevent obesity later in life. Now a new study is adding a breastfeeding benefit to the list: preventing ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
ADHD is a common neurobehavioral disorder that impacts social and academic performance. While both behavioral and medical treatment is available to help kids with the disorder, looking for a way to prevent ADHD would be the best answer.
The study looked at breastfeeding and ADHD with a group of children 6 to 12 years old and compared those that had been diagnosed with ADHD to those that had not. The results revealed that the kids with ADHD were less likely to have been breastfed at 3 and 6 months old. 43% of the children with ADHD were breastfed at 3 months of age, compared to 73% of the children without ADHD. 29% of the ADHD group was breastfed at 6 months old, whereas 57% of the non-ADHD group was breastfed at 6 months.
The study also showed connections between ADHD and other cofounding factors. Not only is the lack of breastfeeding after 3 months associated with increased incidence of ADHD, so is the mother’s age when the child is born, male gender, and parental divorce.
The comparison of breastfeeding between the kids with ADHD and the kids without ADHD shows that breastfeeding may have some sort of protective effect against the development of ADHD.