The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, referred to as ADHD, is increasing. A recent report by the CDC says that 11%, more than 1 in 10, school-aged children have been diagnosed with the chronic mental health condition. Characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity, ADHD is often treated with long-term medication that includes dangerous side effects.
A new study found that breastfeeding can lower a child’s risk of developing ADHD. Children diagnosed with ADHD were less likely to have been breastfed than their siblings or peers without ADHD. We already know that the nutrients and antibodies in breastmilk help to prevent diabetes, obesity, and infections; but now the connection to mental health is becoming clearer. Researchers believe the emotional connection between mother and baby helps the brain develop appropriately.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then breastfeeding until at least one year while supplementing with food, less than half of mothers breastfeed at 6 months and just 26% breastfeed at one year.
If you’re a new or expecting mom, it’s easy to reach out for help if you need it. Contact the La Leche League or Palm Beach Breastfeeding Coalition for preparation or assistance. Need a lactation consultant? We know a great one!