Breastmilk: Your Children’s First Step to Get Optimal Intelligence

Oleh: Morinaga Platinum

Every parents’ dream to give the best for their children, so your little one can be healthy, strong and smart. The first one thousand day is a crucial time for your children’s life, the time starting from conception to your baby’s second birthday. It is because only during this short period of time, parents have the chance to build a solid foundation for your baby’s health, growth, and neural development, that would affect your children development in the future. Early nutrition planning is therefore required to ensure your children’s development.

Discussing about complete nutrition is strongly linked to breastmilk, the best food for your children. Breastmilk contains the best possible source of nutrient required for optimal developmental process. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastmilk to be given exclusively for the first six months of baby’s life. After that time, your baby can be given additional food but breastfeeding should be continued until your baby reach two years old. WHO also recommends breastfeeding is initiated one hour after the baby is born, and later breastmilk is given at any time according to your baby’s request.

According to WHO, breastmilk has been proven to be safe and contains antibody that can protect your baby from many common diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. These diseases are the most common cause of death in the world. The benefit of breastmilk can be documented up until your baby grow up to adulthood. Adolescent and adult that were breastfed during their childhood, have a lower risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus and has a bigger chance of success in academic field. Not only beneficial for your children, breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother by reducing the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes mellitus and depression after labor.

Many studies have documented that breastfed baby has higher IQ score compared to non-breastfed baby. Not only cognitive intelligence, but also language skill and mental intelligence is better in the breastfed group than in non-breastfed group.

A study performed in Pelotas, Brazil, follow 6000 respondents from baby to adulthood, 30 years after the study was initiated. Almost 3500 respondents, mostly at their adulthood now, agree to participate in an interview session and IQ test to meet the purpose of the study to find a long-term effect of breastfeeding. The study conclude that breastfed baby has higher intelligence, and has higher school degree. The longer the breastfeeding period, the better the achievement. “Our study concludes that breastfeeding not only improve IQ score among baby, but also has beneficial effect on children’s education degree, which finally influence their ability to get a better income,” explained Dr Bernardo Lessa Horta, from University of Pelotas, Brazil.

The finding of this study is 95% of respondent that was breastfed for a minimum period of 12 months, has a higher IQ score by 3,76 points, compared to non-breastfed group. Further study conclude that higher IQ play a big portion, as much as 72 percent, to get higher income.

A study conducted in Brown University, United States, conclude that the development of brain white matter is better among exclusively breastfed baby. This white matter is important in cognitive intelligence, language, visual, motoric skill, and behavior. This finding is documented by performing brain MRI among 133 children, with the age from 10 months to 14 years old.

Although not fully understood, these experts from these two studies previously mentioned, conclude that the beneficial effect of breastfeeding is due to the composition of breastmilk, which contains a lot of fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and AA (arachidonic acid).

Looking at the countless benefit of breastmilk, both for the baby and the mother, it is indeed true to say that breastmilk is the water of life. So, don’t hesitate to give the best for your children. Let give your baby the best by breastfeeding your baby for your children’s bright future.

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