Children who were breast-fed exclusively for the first three months of life or longer scored nearly six points higher on IQ tests at the age of 6 than children who weren't breast-fed exclusively, a new study has found.
The finding buttresses previous research that has suggested that children and adults who were breast-fed as infants scored better on IQ tests and other measures of cognitive development, such as thinking, learning and memory, the study authors said.
"Long and exclusive breast-feeding makes kids smarter," said lead researcher Dr. Michael S. Kramer, of McGill University and the Montreal Children's Hospital, in Canada.
Why breast-feeding might increase cognitive skills isn't clear, Kramer said. "It could be something in the milk, or it could be the physical contact between the mother and the baby," he said. "It could be the way the mother interacts with the baby during breast-feeding -- there is no way to know."