Mothers May Prevent ADHD Through Breastfeeding
May 15, 2013

Mothers May Prevent ADHD Through Breastfeeding

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Breastfeeding could help prevent children from developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in life, according to research published in the latest edition of Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Aviva Mimouni-Bloch of the Tel-Aviv University (TAU) Sackler Faculty of Medicine and colleagues compared breastfeeding history and other factors in children between the ages of six and 12 that had been diagnosed with ADHD with data from two control groups of youngsters without the neurobehavioral disorder.

The researchers were attempting to determine whether or not development of ADHD could be associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding. They looked at children who had been diagnosed with the condition at Schneider´s Children Medical Center in Israel between 2008 and 2009 and compared them with the two control groups — one of which consisted of healthy siblings of ADHD children, and the other which was comprised of children without the neurobehavioral disorder who had otherwise been treated at the clinic.

The parents of all study participants were also asked to complete a detailed questionnaire, detailing the demographic and medical data of their children as well as perinatal findings and feeding habits during the first year of life. In addition, mothers and fathers also underwent validated adult ADHD screenings.

Mimouni-Bloch´s team found that children who had ADHD were less likely to have been breastfed at three and six months of age than their non-ADHD counterparts. In fact, only 43 percent of ADHD children were breastfed at three months of age and only 29 percent were breastfed at six months of age. In comparison, the 69 percent of the siblings group and 73 percent of the other control group were breastfed at three months; and 50 percent of the siblings and 57 percent of the other non-ADHD children were breastfed at six months of age.

“Breastfeeding has been shown to have a positive impact on child development, good health, and protection against illness. Now, another possible benefit of breastfeeding for three months and especially six months or longer has been identified,” Dr. Ruth Lawrence, the Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine — who was not involved in the study — said in a statement. “This study opens another avenue of investigation in the prevention of ADHD.”

“Whether the lesser exposure to breastfeeding in ADHD children is causally associated with ADHD or, on the contrary, a consequence of early abnormalities of feeding behavior at the breast cannot be determined from the current study,” the researchers added in their study. “We speculate that prevention, at least partial, of ADHD may be added to the list of the multiple biological advantages of human milk feeding.”