It’s a well known fact that women who follow nature’s lead and breastfeed their babies provide substantial benefits to the newborn.

Now researchers from Tel Aviv University have shown that nursing may also help protect against Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurobehavioral disorder in kids and teens.

The study found bottlefed babies are three times more likely to develop the disorder compared to infants that are breastfed.

Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, said, “Breastfeeding has been shown to have a positive impact on child development, good health, and protection against illness. Now, another possible benefit of breastfeeding for three months and especially six months or longer has been identified. This study opens another avenue of investigation in the prevention of ADHD.”

Link between ADHD and breastfeeding assessed
In order to examine the link between ADHD and breastfeeding, Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch and her team carried out a retrospective study on the nursing histories of about 150 children from six and 12 years.

For the purpose of the study, the kids were split into three groups. The first group included kids who had been diagnosed at the hospital with the disorder. The second comprised siblings of ADHD patients and the third formed the control group without neurobehavioral issues.

Observations by investigators
The analysis found a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD. Even after taking into account risk factors like marital status of parents, education, pregnancy issues such as hypertension or diabetes, birth weight of the child and genetic links, children diagnosed with ADHD were far less likely to have been breastfed up to age one.

It was observed that kids with ADHD were far less likely to be nursed during their first months of life as opposed to other two groups. Only 43 percent of children with ADHD were nursed at three months compared to 69 percent of the sibling group and 73 percent of the control group. After six months, 29 percent of the ADHD group was breastfed compared to 50 percent in the siblings group and 57 percent in the control group.

ChemistDirect’s Superintendant Pharmacist Omar El-Gohary states, “Breastfeeding plays an important part of a baby’s development. Studies have previously established a link between breastfeeding and IQ, and now this latest data demonstrates the impact it can have in lowering the risk of developing behavioural disorders”.

This study was published in Breastfeeding Medicine.

A little about ADHD

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