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Curr Opin Pediatr. 2016 Aug;28(4):559-66. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000389.

Long-term neurodevelopmental benefits of breastfeeding.

Author information

1
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children#$#apos;s Medical Center of New York, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, New York, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of an infant#$#apos;s life, with continuation of breastfeeding for at least a year or as mutually desired by mother and child. A robust body of research literature documenting the short-term medical, developmental, and emotional benefits of breastfeeding for infants and toddlers supports this position. This article reviews the neurodevelopmental benefits of breastfeeding as it relates to preschool and school-age children, with particular emphasis on cognitive development, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.

RECENT FINDINGS:

The majority of research studies examining breastfeeding and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes suggest that children who breastfeed for longer than 6 months have better cognitive outcomes, lower risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and lower risk of being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

SUMMARY:

Pediatricians play a critical role in educating and counseling families about infant nutrition and feeding. Along with the many positive short-term medical effects that breastfeeding confers, physicians should be aware of the growing body of research suggesting that there are also significant long-term neurodevelopmental benefits of breastfeeding.

PMID:
27386975
DOI:
10.1097/MOP.0000000000000389
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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