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January 20, 2010

Breastfed babies less aggressive, anxious or depressed

A study has shown new that babies breastfed for six months or longer are less likely to be aggressive, anxious or depressed during childhood and into adolescence.

Breastfed babies less aggressive and depressed
The study was conducted by Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. It tracked children born to more than 2300 mothers between 1989 and 1992, assessing their mental health at regular intervals from age 2 to 14.

11% were never breastfed, 38% received breast milk for less than six months and just over half were breastfed for six months or more. Study’s lead author Wendy Oddy speculated the biological components of breast milk might be involved in improved mental health outcomes.

“There's a mass of literature showing the benefits of human milk over formula" says Oddy. However, the ability of breastfeeding to enhance the mother-baby bond may also play a role. "It's most likely a combination. We're not able to say from this study whether it was the specific nutrients in breast milk, the bonding aspects, or both," Oddy added.

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