Over the past 15 years there have been numerous studies that have shown positive effects on the intellectual development of children who were breast fed. Most of the studies compared breast fed children with those who were not. In several different studies, breast fed children scored higher on intellectual testing as early as age 3 years of age and into their teens.
Most of the studies also showed greater benefit the longer the child was breast fed. Intellectual testing is not perfect, but recently testing has actually given us clearcut evidence for these earlier findings. A fascinating study from Brown University actually looked at the white matter development in infants through MRI imaging. The white matter in the brain is the area associated with verbal and intellectual development. The study showed upwards of 20% greater development in breast fed children. Included below are several of the more recent studies for additional information.