women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 6, 2007

breastfeeding.jpg image from

Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I came across an interesting article today, about a new study on breastfeeding, and how it relates to IQ. Even though I’ve been personally out of the breastfeeding business for some time (my son is 16 and my daughter is 13), this article still intrigued me, so I decided to use it as the topic of todays post. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only study (or news) on breastfeeding that had been released recently.

So, instead of this post being only about how breastfeeding relates to IQ, it’s also going to be about how breastfeeding relates to heart disease in adults, how asthma may hinder the benefits of breastfeeding, and whether or not breastfeeding is the leading cause of sagging breasts in women. There has also been another controversy over a women’s right to breastfeed her child in public, so I’ll tell you more about that too.

Let’s start with the research that first caught my eye today…

In two studies of over 3,000 children in Britain and New Zealand; breast-fed infants were found to have a 7 point increase in their IQ, when the child also carried a particular version of the FADS2 gene.

“It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is associated with a higher IQ score,” said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology at Yale and a member of the research team.

“Children who do not carry the ‘helpful’ genetic variant have normal average IQ scores,” Kim-Cohen said. “Being breastfed for them is not associated with an IQ advantage.” — read full article

From Sandy at The Mouse Trap in a post on Nature vs Nurture…

The Nature vs Nurture debate is now old-fashioned and instead enlightened people like Malcom Gladwell have been reformulating it as Nature via Nurture where, for genes to make their impact, appropriate environmental agents have to be present. Ed Yong of the excellent Not Exactly rocket Science blog, blogs about a recent study that shows that IQ differences (of up to 7 points) in people with two different variants of a gene, FADS2, can be accomplished under the environmental conditions of breastfeeding. Thus, the gene, which is instrumental in metabolism of some fatty acids, leads to increase in IQ points, but only if the babies are breast-fed. The link seems that this gene is necessary to metabolize some of the the fatty acids present in mother’s milk. — read full post

Another study suggests that the benefits of breastfeeding do not stop when your baby is weaned. Breastfeeding my actually protect your baby from developing heart disease later in life.

This is from WebMD…

Researchers found that babies who are nursed for one month or longer have a lower body mass index (BMI) and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in mid-adulthood than their bottle-fed counterparts. A lower BMI and high HDL both protect against cardiovascular disease. — read full post

There is also new research about the lack of benefit of breastfeeding, when the mother has asthma. It seems that when mothers with asthma breastfeed, the child does not get the same sort of protection and improvements in lung function as other children.

There is an interesting study about asthma and breastfeeding in the first November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Breastfed babies having less diarrhea, fewer ear infections and fewer incidents of wheezing in infancy. The new study suggests that the breastfed babies of asthmatic mothers, though, may be missing out on the positive effects of breastfeeding on lung development. — read full post

Breastfeeding usually helps babies have better lung function later in childhood, but it may not if their moms have asthma.

A new report from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Arizona Respiratory Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson finds longer breastfeeding in children of asthmatic mothers does not improve the child’s lung growth and it significantly decreases their airflow later in life. — read full article

Then there is the controversy over breastfeeding in public…

It bothers me that this is even a subject for debate. Hospitals practically force women to breastfeed their babies. While nursing my son in my maternity ward room, I could hear the nurse giving the young mother next door to me a guilt trip because she didn’t want to breastfeed her baby. So, here we are being bombarded with posters and fliers and nurses and doctors telling us that breastfeeding is natural and the best thing for the baby. There are breasts and nipples hanging out all over the place and no one bats an eye. Then we leave the hospital. — read full post from Modern Mommy

This is a news clip on the latest breastfeeding in public controversy…

It seems this is a law that every state should pass…From A Little Crunchy, Wisconsin Senate passes a breast feeding in public law.

And on a lighter note…

A new study reports that Breastfeeding does NOT cause a woman’s breasts to sag.

My personal opinion on this one is…It seems to me that gravity and age play a pretty large role in the ongoing saga of the saggy boob. But that’s just my personal opinion, and not based on anything except my own intellect and wisdom. *wink*

More moms blogging on breastfeeding…

Amanda’s Blog: Nursing in public

In A Strange Land: Childbirth, breastfeeding, power and hypocrisy

Mama Knows Breast: Breastfeeding and Sleep

So there you have it. One woman’s assessment of the recent news, research, and controversy surrounding breastfeeding. What do you think?


I hope you will also check out my newest blogsCatherineBlogs.com and The Political Voices of Women



4 Responses to “Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy”

  1. […] Catherine Morgan placed an interesting blog post on Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy.Here’s a brief overview:So, instead of this post being only about how breastfeeding relates to IQ, it’s also going to be about how breastfeeding relates to heart disease in adults, how asthma may hinder the benefits of breastfeeding, and whether or not … […]

  2. […] Catherine Morgan added an interesting post on Breastfeeding News, Research, and Controversy.Here’s a small excerpt:So, instead of this post being only about how breastfeeding relates to IQ, it’s also going to be about how breastfeeding relates to heart disease in adults, how asthma may hinder the benefits of breastfeeding, and whether or not … […]

  3. Guess what? Your blog is amazing! I can’t remember when was the last time i’ve overcome such a good blog that almost all articles/posts were interesting and wouldn’t regret spending my time reading it. I hope you will keep up the great work you are doing here and i can enjoy my everyday read at your blog.

  4. Thanks you so much. I’m very happy you like my blog. 🙂

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