Background: Breast-fed children develop fewer psychological, behavioral and learning problems as they grow older.
Aim: To assess the relationship between the duration of breastfeeding and psychosocial development in children at 6 years of age.
Participants and methods: A cross sectional study conducted over 200 children, who were at 6 years old age and admitted to an educational institution. Children with chronic mental or motor disability, chronic medical diseases, psychic diseases and children suffering from congenital anomalies were excluded from the study. Overall breastfeeding duration and exclusive breastfeeding were reported. All studied children were subjected to assessment of children’s personal history and maternal personal and sociodemographic history, assessment of intelligence level using Pictorial Intelligence Test (prepared by/Ahmed Zaki Saleh,1987) and lastly Strength & difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) with 5 scales (Emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, Peer relationship problems, Prosocial behavior).
Results: Caesarean sections and birth order affect exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding in children. Children with exclusive breastfeeding had a better academic achievement and IQ than artificially fed. Children with exclusive breastfeeding had less emotional symptoms and total difficulties than all other groups. A significant negative correlation between breastfeeding duration and emotional symptoms, conduct symptoms and total difficulties but a positive correlation with prosocial behavior.
Conclusion: Breastfeeding improves psychological health of children with a positive effect on children’s intelligence and academic achievement.
Gihan Mohamed Bebars
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