'bf babies more intelligent' thread II

(163 Posts)
bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 19:55:25

Ok, the original thread actually said that bf babies were more intelligent not because of bm but because their mum's were more intelligent...thread was killed by obsessive spamming from one idiot MNer and I would have been happy to let it die except that I clicked on a link on another thread and then came across this article which says that bf for even 4 weeks can have "‘significant’ effect on a child’s development in primary and secondary school".

Thought it might be an interesting way to reopen the debate given that many posters were saying there was lack of evidence for any intellectual benefits of bf.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 19:56:11

It's an article from 14th March btw - so v recent

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 19:58:14

Haven't read the original research but I think I heard this being discussed somewhere and that the 4 week thing was relevant for low birthweight prem babies?

Think they said that the difference for a term baby of normal birthweight was negligible.

I could have been dreaming that though, but glad to see the debate can carry on regardless of what happened at the end of the last one.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 17-Mar-11 19:58:59

Bear in mind that significant is a scientific term. It doesn't mean that your baby will be significantly more intelligent, just that the statistical difference between the babies was big enough. Alos, unless they divide babies into groups randomly (never going to happen) there is no way of proving it. You cna just show it correlates.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 17-Mar-11 19:59:28

Spelling, aarrgghh.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 17-Mar-11 19:59:52

Must be because I wasn't BF grin

FabbyChic Thu 17-Mar-11 20:00:38

Sorry but I know a lot of breast fed kids who are thick as shit. My children were not breast fed and one has almost finished his Maths Degree and already has a 50k a year job to go to, and the youngest is also studying Maths at University starting this year.

I think it is absolute bollocks. Sorry but I do.

MilaMae Thu 17-Mar-11 20:09:27

As a primary teacher I do too.

What makes children consistently better at primary school is a combination of genes,parental involvement,parental influence,parental interest,lifestyle,sleep and personality.

4 weeks of bm would make absolutely zilch impact. Any kid with many of the above advantages will do well bm or no bm.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:13:27

Fabby - no one is saying ALL bf babies are intelligent and ALL ff babies are not.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:14:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:15:16

Milamae am I allowed to ban you from my thread? wink Seriously though, personal experiences are not going to tell us anything. I was just interested in the article in relation to the previous thread.

eviscerateyourmemory Thu 17-Mar-11 20:15:50

I think that if you dont have a basic understanding of stats that can make it harder, because the differences are ones which are observed statistically, rather than by being able to look at a small number of children and see an obvious difference.

Also some people like to look at numbers and some people like to see things with their own eyes, or to take advice based on the experience of friends or family - it would be interesting to see if rates of breastfeeding were different depending on the 'style' of information that people preferred.

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:16:24

Oooh, beertricks, please don't quote me there - it was something i overheard on the radio I think and wsan't listening properly.

Catrinm Thu 17-Mar-11 20:18:12

Anecdote; DH science degree from Oxbridge, he was bottle fed, his mum smoked during and after pregnancy and she was an unmarried teenage mum.

But, rather like the vaccination threads one or two anecdotes don't prove anything. Good scientific analysis of statistics can.

No one is suggesting that FF babies are all thick and Breast fed babies are geniuses but that breast fed babies may on average have a slightly higher IQ.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:18:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 17-Mar-11 20:20:23

I can't remember who said it but the plural of anecdote is not data. If every BF child was 1 IQ point up then it would not give you a Maths degree and a teacher would not notice it. But a researcher might pick it up as significant.

liggerscharter Thu 17-Mar-11 20:21:29

The most interesting thing to me, is the duration of bf.

I mixed fed both of mine for 6 months (not much formula) and 4 months (a fair bit of formula) respectively.

Where does this put them in the at risk groups for all the things bf is the biological norm to prevent?

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:23:13

ok found the paper itself here for anyone who is interested. Off to do some reading...come and join me Milamae?

668neighbourofthebeast Thu 17-Mar-11 20:27:38

Agree MilaMae, FabbyChic etc.

Common sense should really prevail. In the grand scheme of things, I would rather bf than not but, after spending the first two months of ds's life utterly miserable, obsessively trying to make bf work and thinking I was a failure, I began bottle feeding. My crying, distressed and quite frankly far-too-skinny baby turned into a smiling, happy, sleeping little bundle. Looking back I can't believe I was that person.

I'm expecting dc2 and although I will bf again, if it doesn't work out, then I'm not going to beat myself up about it like I did last time.

Catrinm Thu 17-Mar-11 20:27:55

Re prem babies

Both my Dcs were premmies and the hospital they were born in had a milk bank. Both received donated milk. It is expensive stuff. I don't think that the hospital would go to such great lengths to provide such an amazing service if there wasn't a clinically proven benefit (though not necessarily I.Q.)

reallytired Thu 17-Mar-11 20:31:23

What would be interesting would be to see if mothers who breastfeed are brighter than bottlefeeding mothers.

Does maternal IQ decrease with duration of breastfeeding?

Surely healthy women with normal babies who do not offer the baby colustrum are strange.

I know someone at work who thinks breastfeeding is sexual and would not even try. There is no evidence that her children are thick, inspite of having a stupid mother.

bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:33:29

reallytired - it actually covers that in the study - and yes they are. (education of the mothers was used as a control).

liggers, it doesn't just apply to premature babies.

peppapighastakenovermylife Thu 17-Mar-11 20:34:00

It is impossible to tell the effect of breastfeeding on any individual. You will never know if you would have been more or less intelligent if you were BF / FF

BF decreases the risk of certain things. Risk. Not definitives.

Just like driving without a seatbelt does not mean you will die and some people do it their whole life just fine (I am not saying they are equal acts)

Take a room full of babies, perhaps 10 in the BF group will get a gastro bug that year and 20 in the FF will get it. That is still 80 FF babies who didnt get it and 10 BF who did.

Just averages - averages and risk that you can take into account when considering the overall situation for your family based on what your family needs

Something that should be supported and encouraged but not against everything else


bubbleymummy Thu 17-Mar-11 20:34:23


'Women with a degree are more likely likely to initiate breastfeeding than women in other groups, and by one week women with a degree are twice as likely to be breastfeeding as women in the lowest educational group (93% versus 46%). These differences increase with the age of the baby: at 7 weeks, women with degrees are three times more likely to be breastfeeding than women with the fewest qualifications (82% versus 28%) while after 17 weeks, mothers with degrees are over four times more likely to be breastfeeding."

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 17-Mar-11 20:35:27

reallytired, if you look at the study (thanks bubbleymummy) it shows that maternal educational level is a big factor in BFing. I don't know about IQ, though. I shouldn't think maternal IQ increases with BFing. Having a baby appears to have dropped my IQ by about 20 points (lack of sleep).

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