According to a new study done by Oxford University and the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Essex University, found that as little as four weeks of breastfeeding for a newborn baby has a significant effect on brain development, which lasts until the child is at least 14 years old. After the age of 14 continued support from the parents can make the benefits last even longer.
The Avon Longitudinal Study
The researchers that performed the study matched each breastfed baby with one or more babies who were not breastfed, but who were similar in all other respects. Test scores in reading, writing and mathematics for the children at ages five, seven, 11 and 14 revealed a statistically significant difference between those who had been breastfed as compared with those who had not. “the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which covers 12,000 children born in the early 1990s in the Bristol area. Babies were matched on a huge range of characteristics, including: their sex, gestational age, birth weight, their mother's age and marital status, parents' job status and education, and their home environment. Crucially, the researchers also used the parents' attitudes to breastfeeding as measured before birth.”
This study indicates how important it is to breastfeed a baby and the cognitive advantages it gives then later in life. Once a child has a good start it can be continued through support.