Can breastfeeding protect against ADHD?

May 14, 2013
©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Breastfeeding has a positive impact on the physical and mental development of infants. A new study suggests that breastfeeding may protect against the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in childhood. The study is reported in Breastfeeding Medicine.

A team of Israeli researchers led by Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, MD compared breastfeeding history and other factors in a group of children 6-12 year of age diagnosed with to control groups of children who did not have ADHD. The results demonstrated that overall, the children with ADHD were less likely to have been breastfed at 3 and 6 months of age than the children without ADHD. This association between ADHD and lack of breastfeeding was statistically significant.

"Breastfeeding has been shown to have a positive impact on , good health, and protection against illness. Now, another possible benefit of breastfeeding for three months and especially six months or longer has been identified," says Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine. "This study opens another avenue of investigation in the prevention of ADHD."

Explore further: Longer breastfeeding duration boosts risk of iron deficiency

More information: The article is available free on the Breastfeeding Medicine website at

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