Breastfeeding is proven to have many benefits for both baby and mother, but a new study suggests those benefits even out with non-breastfed babies by about age 5.
The population study, published in Pediatrics, assessed the vocabulary, behaviors, and cognitive functions of 7,478 children at 3 and age 5.
While the researchers found 3-year-olds who breastfed for a minimum of six months showed more advanced behavior and brain function than babies who were formula-fed, by the time those babies turned 5, breastfed and formula-fed babies ranked similarly with vocabulary, behavior, and cognitive skills.
So what does that mean? Well, it means if you can breastfeed and want to breastfeed, go for it! Your baby will benefit in its early years, and breastmilk is free! However, women who have trouble breastfeeding or choose not to for any number of reasons don’t need to feel guilty: you aren’t affecting your child for life.