Breastfeeding and baby’s risk for mental illness

breast_feeding2.jpgThe previous post on the neurological and psychological benefits of breastfeeding made me wonder if being breastfed is associated with a lower risk of developing mental illness later in life.

For example, those with cognitive impairment and vulnerability to stress are more likely to end up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Perhaps, those who have greater cognitive ability and stress resilience because they were breastfed are at less of a risk of being diagnosed with a serious mental illness later in life.

There seems to be evidence to support this idea.

According to one study published last year, being breastfed is associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing schizophrenia.

One other study found no difference in risk for previously breastfed and non-breastfed adults, but found evidence that early breastfeeding pushed back the time at which those with schizophrenia developed symptoms, suggesting breast milk might postpone the onset of the condition many years later.

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