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We've all heard that breastfeeding is supposed to boost IQ. Has anyone seen this play out in real life, e.g., among siblings fed differently? (assuming that siblings would have equal potential to have a similar IQ)
 

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I think it's only 7 or so points on average but I can't remember where I read that. You would never really know if it was the bf or not if there was a difference, IMO. One sib maybe was just going to have a higher IQ no matter what.

Good question though. How interesting would it be if many mdc moms who had one ff and one bf had them tested and the bf kids usually came out a few points ahead?

I think it's important to use bf as the standard though, and not say that bf kids have higher IQ but that formula fed kids (if it's true) have lower ones... otherwise it's like, "I'm okay with my kid not being extra smart if it means I get to not bother with bf" vs. "I'm robbing my kid of IQ points s/he would have had by not bothering to bf" KWIM?

Subtle but important distinction IMO.

Interested to hear others' thoughts/experiences on this... I do have one dd who was partial bf/partial formula and another who was exclusively bf, but because my younger dd is autistic and I haven't had either one tested for IQ and don't plan to, I'll never really know what the difference is or would have been...

-Vijay
 

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One child I nursed for only a month. The other child 2 1/2 years.

The one that nursed for a month, had a very lazy latch. I'm also the type that gets little when I pump. The lazy latch was the first sign of oral motor issues with her. She's been in speech since 2 1/2 for pronunciation issues.
She has tested gifted. With her I've wondered much about things like asperger's, adhd, visual spatial, apraxia of speech, SPD....nothing quite fits, but I suspect there is some other stuff going on with her. I suspect she may have an overall higher IQ compared to sis, but some of the other 'stuff' gets in the way.

DD2 has not been tested, but there is no question that she is gifted.

There is no possible way for me to tell any difference between formula and bfing with them. If anything the one that was mainly on formula had the highest attention span, and was the most alert of my kids as an infant. The 'issues' I've seen with her... well, motor stuff was there from the beginning, and unrelated to nursing/formula.

Tammy
 

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I have 1 that was bfed and 1 that was not. My DS is now a senior and has struggled through school. I have never had him tested for anything so I don't know his IQ. DD is 5 and is being placed into 1st with a high IQ. I often wonder if bfing had something to do with it and what the differences would have been.
 

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I believe IQs are higher if an individual baby is breastfed, unfortunately there is no way to prove this because you can't go back in time and compare what would have happened with bm v. formula. We know for sure that bm is better more complete nutrition, and we also know that bf babies spend less time being ill and being ill can cause a child to "fall behind," to me that means a smarter baby, even if though there is no way to demonstrate. One reason I am bfing is because I feel ds will be smarter than he would have been had I ff, not because I think it will make him smarter than some or all of his ff peers, kwim?
 

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The study I read was that it wasn't so much what the baby was fed - but other factors. They think that "face" time with a young infant is what might increase IQ. The close time spent studying the mother's face naturally helps them build connections.

And also the 2 sidedness of breastfeeding. In general - when people use bottles they always hold the baby in the same arm. So - switching it up is thought to be beneficial to the baby.

So - they are trying to mimic that by having people who FF always hold the baby in arms and switch sides. I don't know if there are any results on that...
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
The study I read was that it wasn't so much what the baby was fed - but other factors. They think that "face" time with a young infant is what might increase IQ. The close time spent studying the mother's face naturally helps them build connections.

And also the 2 sidedness of breastfeeding. In general - when people use bottles they always hold the baby in the same arm. So - switching it up is thought to be beneficial to the baby.

My kid was nursed for a couple of years but absolutely considered nursing a race - eat fast and get outa there. It was definately not a recreational activity and not a two sided activity if he could help it. I don't buy that part of the research.

To me the reasons to nurse if it works for you are health and convenience. Because they can't randomly assign children to the breast or bottle fed groups, I'm not particularly persuaded by the research. And, even if you totally buy the research it is 7 points and it isn't like siblings are guaranteed to have identical IQs otherwise.
 

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With my oldest, I was not able to nurse but I did pump for 5.5 months and had enough in the freezer to supplement her formula with breastmilk for a few months afterwards. She was early on everything. She's now 7 and she's way ahead of her grade level in school and is placed in advanced classes.

My dd was just diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which, looking back, she's probably had her whole life. She was suffering a lot from feeding problems, being very thin, dry skin, digestive problems, etc. She didn't do as well on my milk as she did on formula-- she grew okay but she had a lot of diarrhea and stomach pain. She did better when I ran out of milk.
(Now I know that gluten comes through in breastmilk. ) She broke her arm very easily last year in a fall that should have required more force. We feel that she has been malnourished for awhile. Since taking her off gluten just a copule mos ago she's gained four pounds, her skin looks great, and she's healthier. And yet through it all she has managed to excel academically.

My youngest was not able to bf for other reasons and I was unable to pump longer than a few weeks. She was on formula through her feeding tube for her first three years of life, and only took a limited amount of solid food. At age 4.5 she's mostly on table food but still needs a formula feeding every day to boost calories through her tube. She's also way ahead in most areas and is very bright. She's socially way advanced, and is also reading, counting, etc. about a year ahead of most kids her age. She could be ready for K this year but is not old enough.

I really think there is some benefit to breastmilk, but I also feel that factors such as genetics and parenting (providing a rich and stimulating and nurturing environment) has a whole lot to do with it. According to the study, with all of her health issues, failure to thrive, malnutrition, and extensive use of formula way beyond infancy, my dd2 should not be doing so well-- but she is. Same with my dd1 and her Celiac Disease.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by VijayOwens View Post
I think it's important to use bf as the standard though, and not say that bf kids have higher IQ but that formula fed kids (if it's true) have lower ones... otherwise it's like, "I'm okay with my kid not being extra smart if it means I get to not bother with bf" vs. "I'm robbing my kid of IQ points s/he would have had by not bothering to bf" KWIM?

Subtle but important distinction IMO.

http://www.bobrow.net/kimberly/birth/BFLanguage.html
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
The study I read was that it wasn't so much what the baby was fed - but other factors. They think that "face" time with a young infant is what might increase IQ. The close time spent studying the mother's face naturally helps them build connections.

And also the 2 sidedness of breastfeeding. In general - when people use bottles they always hold the baby in the same arm. So - switching it up is thought to be beneficial to the baby.

So - they are trying to mimic that by having people who FF always hold the baby in arms and switch sides. I don't know if there are any results on that...
I saw a study done on tube fed premies comparing formula and expressed BM (sorry I don't remember where I saw it and don't have time to search right now.) Since all the Infants were tube fed being held was not a factor. The infants fed BM averaged something like 5 points higher on IQ (don't recall exact #) in follow ups.
 

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Well, both of mine were breastfed although ds had some formula here and there very early on while in the hospital and I suspect they gave him formula at his daycare (long story, separate post). Nary a drop passed through dd's lips, she was breastfed exclusively and I'm positive she was never formula fed at daycare because of her medical history (another long story for a separate post). ds is gifted without a doubt and has been identified by the school district. dd is average to high average. Definitely not gifted.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kessed View Post
And also the 2 sidedness of breastfeeding. In general - when people use bottles they always hold the baby in the same arm. So - switching it up is thought to be beneficial to the baby.
They do, huh?
: Always?

I'm curious about the genetics factor, myself. I think that the people who choose to breastfeed are more likely to have higher IQs than people who choose to formula feed in our society. In this day and age, breastfeeding is something which parents must choose consciously to do. People have to think about breastfeeding, it's not the default decision, and whenever you've got a group self-selecting that way, you're going to have a more limited range when it comes to IQ. I'd be much more interested to see the correlations between parents' IQ and choosing to breastfeed, and I think it'd be a heck of a lot more relevant.

That said: I have one baby of four who is fed artificially. He did get some breastmilk, but due to circumstances beyond my control has had artificial milk of some kind or another since he was 6 days old. I don't know what his IQ is like, but he seems to be on par with his older brother & sister at that age. The only child who I cannot say with absolute certainty is gifted is Bella, and she was exclusively breastfed (as were BeanBean and BooBah).
 

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my sister was a 33 week preemie, she was formula fed because they didn't encourage breastfeeding of preemies 32 years ago. i was full term and breastfed as was my brother. my sister is now a PhD candidate and about to go to Indonesia for 10 months on a Fulbright scholarship. i have an MA but i am not nearly as talented academically as my sister. my brother is also intelligent but no academic. so i'm not sure i totally by the ff/bf IQ argument, i think it's so much more complicated than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by eilonwy View Post
I think that the people who choose to breastfeed are more likely to have higher IQs than people who choose to formula feed in our society. In this day and age, breastfeeding is something which parents must choose consciously to do. People have to think about breastfeeding, it's not the default decision, and whenever you've got a group self-selecting that way, you're going to have a more limited range when it comes to IQ. I'd be much more interested to see the correlations between parents' IQ and choosing to breastfeed, and I think it'd be a heck of a lot more relevant.
Choosing to breastfeed is associated with higher parental education level, IQ, and socioeconomic status. See, for example: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20070715/tips/5.html

Quote:

Originally Posted by eepster
I saw a study done on tube fed premies comparing formula and expressed BM (sorry I don't remember where I saw it and don't have time to search right now.) Since all the Infants were tube fed being held was not a factor. The infants fed BM averaged something like 5 points higher on IQ (don't recall exact #) in follow ups.
I wonder if parental IQ was considered in this one.
 

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Originally Posted by Freeman View Post
Choosing to breastfeed is associated with higher parental education level, IQ, and socioeconomic status. See, for example: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20070715/tips/5.html
I have seen information supporting this in the past. What I REALLY want to know is whether it is maternal intelligence that is the defining factor, or is it the primary caregiver's intelligence that is the defining factor? The study indicated above does answer that somewhat, as it notes that the cognitive support at home is a lesser, but significant contributor. A MUCH lesser contributor. What about fathers? It's all very complicated, but quite interesting.
 

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Eh...I really think there are too many variables involved to tie yourself up in knots over it, esp. when there's no profound difference determined. Dd had a mix from the start -- I'd tried nursing after breast reduction, and in our case it wasn't a terrific experience for anyone -- and essentially supplemented her formula with bm till she was 9 months old. She's grown up with bright parents and went to a daycare staffed by bright, creative, generally well-educated & well-read hippies; her friends' parents are artists and university people. Has just turned 5. Her questions at dinner tonight had to do with why presidents have to follow rules, and why the country's more important than the president, and who can vote; also, she decided that voting's more important than eating and yelled at me for my civic irresponsibility when I pointed out that eating can be awfully nice. No mess of pottage for this one. Would she have been even brighter if she'd had bm the whole time? Gee, I dunno. It seems to me at some point you don't want to be a pig about it.

I wouldn't worry, in other words. I still think "do whatever makes you least crazy" is good advice.
 

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I have 3 kids, my middle dd MAY be gifted, she is definitly advanced. None of them have had IQ testing or anything.

My oldest was bf'd until she was 9 months, she was given formula on long trips. By 9months she was nursing 3 times a day.

My youngest was bf'd until she was 16months. She was not given formula as she couldn't have dairy & I don't do soy. At 12 months she was nursing 13 times day & night still.

My middle one(the one who may be gifted) was EBFd for 2 weeks & then from 2 weeks-3months I weaned her onto formula.
 

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My DS is 4 and was FF after 3 weeks of bfeeding. He is in the top 1/2 percent for IQ (99.5th percentile) (profoundly gifted) so it certainly hasn't hurt his intelligence.

My DD had serious health issues and got a mix. And while she is bright, I doubt she is gifted.

My other 3 friends have exclusively bf and did extended bf'ing (still are, actually) and none of their children are gifted.

In terms of IQ - I don't see the advantage.
 

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Originally Posted by Mom2Joseph View Post
My DS is 4 and was FF after 3 weeks of bfeeding. He is in the top 1/2 percent for IQ (99.5th percentile) (profoundly gifted) so it certainly hasn't hurt his intelligence.
Just a point perhaps worth clarifying...
99.5 percentile is certainly a gifted kid, but not profoundly gifted - that is typically considered more 99.99+ but modern tests may not necessarily be able to discriminate past 99.9. I'm just tossing that out because people often seem confused about what these numbers mean and they are pretty significant differences. Like the difference between 1 in 100 or 1 in 10,000.
 

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Ds was the only one who had formula, for a few months, and he's profoundly gifted.

My dh is profoundly gifted as well, and was never nursed. His mother was also a big drinker/smoker during her whole pregnancy with him.

Both my dds were exclusively breastfed. Dd1 is bright, but not gifted. Dd2 appears to be gifted, but not profoundly.

I do think breastfeeding is best, and it has many wonderful benefits. I just don't think it pushes anyone's IQ that much higher, in most cases.
 
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