There are numerous benefits when it comes to breastfeeding your baby, and now due to recent studies, we may be able to add ADHD prevention to the list of reasons why you should.
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and a lack of ability to concentrate. As the number of diagnosed cases of ADHD continues to rise—to nearly 1 in 10 children—parents and physicians are continually looking for new and better ways of treatment and prevention. Some traditionally prescribed medications have been found to have limited effectiveness and even long-lasting adverse effects.
The good news is that prevention may be possible through breastfeeding. A study completed by doctors at Tel Aviv University demonstrated “a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, even when typical risk factors were taken into consideration” (Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, et al. “Breastfeeding May Protect from Developing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Breastfeeding Medicine, 2013).
While it is already common knowledge that breastmilk contains nutrients and antibodies which help prevent infection and obesity, this research demonstrates that the benefits run deeper than previously thought. Researchers have further found that children who are breastfed have an advantage in brain and emotional development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, and up to a year while gradually introducing solid foods. In reality, the number of mothers who breastfeed up to six months is less than half. If you are a new mother or know of one, you can be encouraged by this study to make breastfeeding a priority for your child’s overall health.