Previous studies have shown that children who were breastfed score higher on IQ tests and perform better in school, now a new study has revealed the reason behind this well stated fact.
The study by sociologists at Brigham Young University pinpoints two parenting skills as the real source of this cognitive boost: Responding to children's emotional cues and reading to children starting at 9 months of age.
Breastfeeding mothers tend to do both of those things, the study's lead author Ben Gibbs, said.
"It's really the parenting that makes the difference. Breastfeeding matters in others ways, but this actually gives us a better mechanism and can shape our confidence about interventions that promote school readiness," Gibbs asserted.
Gibbs authored the study with fellow BYU professor Renata Forste and according to their analysis, improvements in sensitivity to emotional cues and time reading to children could yield 2-3 months' worth of brain development by age 4 (as measured by math and reading readiness assessments).
The BYU scholars utilized a national data set that followed 7,500 mothers and their children from birth to five years of age.
The study was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.