Breastfed babies 'fewer problems'

Infants who are breastfed often develop fewer behavioural problems than those who are not, new research has shown. Published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, the study found this to be true of children who were fed in this way for four months or more.

Investigators from the Universities of Oxford, York, Essex and University College London considered the feeding habits of 10,037 mothers and their offspring for the report, which was known as the Millennium Cohort Study.

The team noted that the correlation could be down to the make-up of breast milk or the improved mother-baby interaction that breastfeeding can encourage.

Maria Quigley of Oxford University, who led the research, said: "Our results provide even more evidence for the benefits of breastfeeding."

Professor Louise Wallace, Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society said: "At last a good news story on breastfeeding - so many emphasise either poor studies apparently showing breastfeeding is not as good as we know it is for baby and mother - or that doing it is difficult and distasteful."

"Many studies confound the fact that in the UK, Europe and the USA, the better off and more educated mothers tend to breastfeed, so their babies have many health advantages and are likely to have fewer behavioural problems."

"This study goes some way to control statistically for this giving confidence in the results."

A recent study carried out by a Massachusetts General Hospital-based research team found that a combination of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and excessive emotional reactions to everyday events appears to run throughout a family.