As reported on ABC News, Jan 28, 2010
By Gina Marich
Researchers are urging mothers to breastfeed their babies until they are at least six months old after carrying out a study which they say has found a link between breastfeeding and child mental health.
The 14-year study published in the Journal of Paediatrics followed almost 3,000 women in Western Australia and tracked the development of their babies through to early adolescence.
The women who took part in the study breastfed their babies for different lengths of time, with some women not breastfeeding their babies at all.
One of the study's authors, Professor Sven Silburn from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, says it is further evidence of the importance of breastfeeding in a child's development.
"What we found was that for each additional month that a child was breastfed [the] behaviour in teenagers improved," he said.
"We can say clearly that breastfeeding for six months or longer is positively associated with mental health and wellbeing in children and adolescents."
Professor Silburn says it is essential for everyone, especially mothers, to be aware of the importance of breastfeeding.
"Changes in the workplace, the increased casualisation of employment, that is making it very difficult for some mothers to be able to breastfeed as they should," he said.
"Being able to organise work and to have public acceptance of the importance of breastfeeding is something that we want to continually support."