According to Science Daily, breastfeeding not only boosts children’s chances of climbing the social ladder, but it also reduces the chances of downwards mobility. That’s what a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood suggests.
The findings are based on changes in the social class of two groups of people born in 1958 (17,419 people) and in 1970 (16,771 people).
According to Science Daily, researchers asked each of the children’s mothers when their child was five or seven years old, whether they had breastfed him or her. They then compared people’s social class as children based on the social class of their father when they were 10 or 11 with their social class as adults, measured when they were 33 or 34.
Researchers categorised social class on a four-point scale ranging from unskilled, semi-skilled manual to professional and managerial.
Factors such as the children’s brain development and stress scores were also taken into account and assessed using tests at the ages of 10-11.
The link between breastfeeding and children’s ability to climb the social ladder
Researchers found that fewer children were breastfed in 1970 than in 1958, while more than two-thirds (68%) of mothers breastfed their children in 1958, compared with just over one in three (36%) in 1970.
They found that social mobility also changed over time, with children born in 1970 more likely to be upwardly mobile, than those born in 1958. In fact, breastfeeding increased the odds of upwards mobility by 24% and reduced the odds of downward mobility by around 20% for both groups.
When it came to the child’s background, researchers found that “children who had been breastfed were consistently more likely to have climbed the social ladder than those who had not been breastfed. This was true of those born in both 1958 and 1970,” says Science Daily.
But that’s not all.
The study also reported that “ breastfeeding enhances brain development, which boosts intellect, which in turn increases upwards social mobility. Breastfed children also showed fewer signs of stress,” says Science Daily.
Based on the findings, researchers concluded that breast feeding offers children long-term health benefits and also plays a key role in how they behave as adults later on in life.
According to Science Daily, researchers noted that it’s difficult to pinpoint which affords the greatest benefit to the child, the nutrients found in breast milk or the skin to skin contact and associated bonding during breastfeeding.
Well, there you have it, proof that breast is best. Try it, your kids will thank you later.