Just recently, a study completed at several universities in England, found that babies who were breastfed for at least 4 months had significantly less behavioral problems than those who were formula-fed, by the time they reached 5 years old.
In fact the rate of occurrence of behavioral problems was 2.7 times greater in the formula-fed babies (16% occurrence vs. 6%). This finding was consistent and was not affected by socio-economic differences or parental factors.
The researchers said one possible reason for the findings was that breast milk contains large amounts of essential long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, growth factors and hormones, which are important in brain and nervous system development. These are the same essential fatty acids that are found in fish like salmon and tuna.
These findings add to the list of other benefits that have been suggested for breastfeeding. Some studies have suggested that breastfed babies have lower rates of infection, higher IQ’s and less allergies and that mothers who breastfeed, may have a lower risk of certain types of cancers. (i.e. breast, endometrial, ovarian cancers).