Essay Breastfeeding and IQ
This paper is a literature review to determine if infants who are breastfed tend to have higher IQs as they mature.
The paper reports that the review of the literature suggests, not only a correlation between breastfeeding and an increased IQ, but also researchers have developed sound theories about the cause of this correlation. The author points out that current studies suggest that it is the chemistry of the milk itself, rather than the bonding that occurs during nursing, that increases IQ. The paper stresses that demonstrating links between breastfeeding and IQ should encourage all mothers who can to breastfeed, and those who cannot, or choose not to, to select formulas that are as chemically close as possible to breast milk.
“It is important to note that other studies refute this finding or at least call into question the overall importance (over the course of the entire lifespan) of breastfeeding in terms of increased IQ. While other research has correlated the findings of the New Zealand study that breastfeeding does provide an initial advantage to children, this advantage is reduced over time. Such a finding again underscores the complexity of attempting to determine what accounts for human intelligence (setting aside for the moment the fact that “intelligence” itself is a complex concept that has a number of different definitions, none of which works as well in all cultures). Certainly, it is possible that any benefits vis-a-vis raised IQ that a child receives because of breastfeeding may well be wiped out later on, if for example the child is severely abused.”