For years, doctors have encouraged mothers to breastfeed their children. In addition to boosting the immune system, protecting against Crohn's disease, and staving off ear infections, it turns out that breastfeeding may also help your child achieve a higher social status later in life. Sound far-fetched? The newly published findings of a long-term, in-depth study offer some very convincing proof.
A team of researchers at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, looked at a total of 4,999 children who were part of the Boyd Orr Study of Diet and Health in Pre-War Britain (1937-1939), and tracked their progress over a span of 60 years.
The Breastfed Edge
Dr. Richard Martin, who led the study, explains, "We thought that if breastfeeding increased IQ and health in the long-term, it may also have an impact on social status." And according to Dr. Martin's research, this prediction was correct. The study found that infants who were breastfed were 41 percent more successful at moving up the social ladder than those who were bottle fed, and that the longer children were breastfed, the greater their chances of upward mobility.
The study also took into consideration families where one child was breastfed while a sibling was bottle fed. In these instances, there was still a difference in the siblings' chances of social mobility: The breastfed child was 16 percent more likely to move up in class.