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A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom claims that breastfeeding makes for smarter kids when they reach the ripe old age of 16. If I had to guess, I’d guess that you were thinking, “So what, don’t we already know that kids are smarter if they’re breastfed?”

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Debunking Common Childbirth Advice

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a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom  claims that breastfeeding makes for smarter kids   when they reach the ripe old age of 16. if I had  to guess I'd guess that you were thinking so what   don't we already know the kids are smarter  if they're breastfed that is definitely the   dominant narrative but do the data support it  that's the topic of this week's Healthcare triage [Music]   to the research the study published in June  of 2023 examines performance on standardized   tests at age 16 and compare scores between kids  who breastfed for different amounts of Time as   babies including those who were never breastfed  after some adjusting for socioeconomic factors   a maternal cognitive ability better educational  outcomes were found in children who were breastfed   you might not be surprised to hear that I am  unimpressed by this report I was unimpressed   before I even read it because the persistent  belief that breastfeeding makes smarter babies   has never really been supported by the science but  then I read the report and I got more unimpressed   the first thing that jumped out at me was listed  right there in the beginning in the abstract   compared to children who were never breastfed kids  who were breastfed for longer were less likely to   fail the English but not the math standardized  test so I guess breastfeeding will produce more   writers but the engineering Fields out of luck  come on a deeper dive reveals that the statistics   in this paper are way less than convincing  and I'm not the only one who thinks so as one   analysis posted on Twitter points out the results  are borderline or not significant and the stats   tests weren't even done appropriately I don't  know if you've listened to our podcast series   on reproducibility and Science and you should but  using statistics incorrectly like this just gives   us a bunch of unreliable results the major problem  with studies like these is the kids who are   breastfed usually have a bunch of other advantages  because in developed countries it's usually   parents who have more resources and education that  end up recipe is likely due to many factors like   having the resources support and time to do it if  you've never breastfed an infant full-time trust   me when I say that those things are necessary for  it to be successful it's actually pretty difficult   for many people in the beginning and it's all  consuming particularly in the first few months   so the kids who have access to more resources  through their parents usually end up having better   outcomes it isn't the breastfeeding that helped  them get better marks in school it's the resources   that enabled the breastfeeding in the first  place but wait you scream I've read slash heard   a lot about this and breastfeeding has definite  advantages over formula I hear you I've read it   and heard it too but the data just don't support  most of it the biggest problem is the poor quality   of evidence however we do actually have data  from a randomized controlled trial of a program   that encouraged breastfeeding and then analyze  differences between breastfed and non-breastfed   babies there were some positive outcomes of  breastfeeding Main mainly less diarrhea and   fewer rashes than breastfed babies and that's  great but it's important to keep in mind that   these things still weren't happening to a ton  of babies in the non-breasted group they just   happened even less in the breastfed group data  also support the benefit of breast milk for babies   born very prematurely doesn't make them smarter  but it can't help them to avoid a very serious   intestinal problem that can affect babies with  very low birth weights and that can also be fatal   outside of these things there is evidence that ear  infections might be reduced from breastfed infants   and that's basically all we've got the rest of the  evidence is shaky at best and it's baffling that   such weak science underlies the pervasive belief  that breastfeeding is basically magic if you have   the time resources an inclination to breastfeed  your children that's great we did it and you   could too but if you don't that's okay too your  children will not be worse off than anyone else   as they suffer through standardized testing 16  years down the road hey to enjoy this episode   and enjoy this previous episode debunking common  child birth advice we'd appreciate it if you'd   like And subscribe to the channel down below and  consider going to healthcare triage   where you can help support the show make it bigger  and better we'd like to especially thank our   research Associates Joe Steves and Edward little  home and of course our surgeon Admiral Sam [Music]