They Say: Breast-feeders Get Better Grades — This Time for Real!

breastfeedingI had always thought I’d wean my kids before freshman year in high school.  But a new study has me rethinking those plans.

Researchers compared siblings’ achievements in families where one child was breastfed while the other was given formula. You guessed it, the breastfed kid won!

The study compared 126 children from 59 families and here’s what they found [via MSNBC]:

For an additional month of breastfeeding, high school GPA increased .019 points while the probability of going to college increased .014.

So like, if I could convince the babes to keeping suckling beyond middle school as originally planned, we’re totally set! Or maybe not.

Joseph Sabia, American University professor who focuses on health economics and one of the lead researchers of the study published in the Journal of Human Capital, said the results are just a start. He said that the results are only a hint that breast-feeding may benefit in the long-run, but do not establish a causal link.

There’s also no information on what an “additional month” is. Each month after six months? Each month after birth? A year?

What makes this study special, the researchers say, is that they compared differently fed siblings. This allowed them to account for maternal intelligence and home environment as influencing factors.

(Maternal intelligence is off the charts in our house, but it’s good to know others have a fighting chance.)

The study doesn’t take into account the boob vs. bottle factor that Hanna Rosin pointed out in her Atlantic article, The Case Against Breastfeeding. A study truly setting out to find whether breast milk makes for higher-achievement would need to compare formula fed babies with those who exclusively pump.

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