Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Intelligent boobs

Study shows breast-fed children are smarter.

Here's a headline that's popped up before on a subject that's been out there for a few years now. My wife and I happened to believe in the benefits of breast-feeding before our son was born and said wife undertook that labor of love for 18 months. We are both glad she did. Our son is now smarter than his parents (just ask him), even though he is a mere 7 years old. Seriously, though, he is doing really well in (charter) school and his observations on some of the absurdities of life surprise me for a child of his age. (Don't ask me to recount one because I can't remember one off of the top of my head; I wasn't breast-fed, obviously.)

Of course, this doesn't mean that a child without the potential for intelligence in the first place can become a genius if he's attached to a teat for the first year or so of his life, but every little bit helps. The story goes on to point out that mothers who do breast-feed their babies tend to be more involved in their children's upbringing, so that might explain at least part of the disparity between breast-fed and non-breast-fed babies.

But I have a feeling that the main reason is the perfect nutrition human breast milk provides for a human baby. It gives everything in precise amounts a growing infant needs and nothing he doesn't (assuming, of course, the mother eats a balanced diet and doesn't use drugs/alcohol while nursing). Cow's milk is for calves, and it doesn't fit the human baby nearly as well as mother's milk. Only a bunch of over-educated fools (those educated beyond their intelligence) could believe otherwise. And don't even get me started on that chemist's concoction known as formula.

One other benefit I've read about over the years is the lower incidence of breast cancer among women who have breast-fed their children. This only makes sense, as that's what they're there for, contrary to the popular notion that breasts exists for men to salivate over and rate. Speaking anecdotally, my own mother did not breast-feed any of her three children--although she wanted to try it my father forbade it, mainly because he thought it was low-class(!)--and she ended up dying of breast cancer at the relatively young age of 64. Whether or not this was related to eschewing nursing, no one can say definitively.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see any downside at all to breast-feeding, with the possible exception of the convenience factor, which a good breast pump and a little planning can alleviate. Let's hope more women take up this vital part of child care; we sure as hell could use all the smart people we can get in this world. Lord knows there are more than enough dumb ones around, and they seem to be multiplying exponentially, to the detriment of the species.

Take care.

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