Breastfeeding — The New Ritalin?

New research suggest it is
Mimouni-Bloch, A, Kachevanskaya, A, Mimouni, FB, et al. Breastfeeding May Protect from Developing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Breastfeeding Medicine. 2013; doi:10.1089. Accessed May 14, 2013. Full study: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/bfm.2012.0145

The May 14, 2013 issue of Breastfeeding Medicine reports that breastfeeding may offer a protective effect from ADHD. The Israeli scientists performing the study say breastfeeding may keep children from developing ADHD even as they get older.

The Israeli researchers recruited 6 to 12 year-olds diagnosed with ADHD.These children were matched up with two sets of healthy control groups. The control groups were the ADHD children’s siblings who did not have ADHD, and 6 to 12 year old children with similar backgrounds. Siblings were included because they likely have similar genetic and
environmental backgrounds as the children with ADHD.

The researchers found that children who had been diagnosed with ADHD were breastfed less often than their healthy peers. Here’s the breakdown:

* At one month of age, only 63 percent of children with ADHD were breastfed.

* At one month of age, the non-ADHD kids were breastfed 86 percent of the time while the ADHD children’s non-ADHD siblings were breastfed 79 percent of the time.

* By six months of age, only 29 percent of the ADHD children were breastfed while 50 percent of their healthy siblings and 57 percent of the non-related children were breastfed.

“A stepwise logistic regression … demonstrated a significant
association between ADHD and lack of breastfeeding at 3 months of age, maternal age at birth, male gender, and parental divorce,” the researcher wrote. “Children with ADHD were less likely to breastfeed at 3 months and 6 months of age than children in the two control groups. We speculate that breastfeeding may have a protective effect from
developing ADHD later in childhood.”

One can’t help but ask if the child’s propensity to be distracted, fussy, or moody could have a difference in the outcomes of this study. In other words, were they breastfed less because of ADHD like symptoms early on, or does the act of breastfeeding actually act as a protective effect.

Mimouni-Bloch, A, Kachevanskaya, A, Mimouni, FB, et al. Breastfeeding May Protect from Developing Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Breastfeeding Medicine. 2013; doi:10.1089. Accessed May 14, 2013. Full study: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/bfm.2012.0145