Breastfeeding and Trajectories of Children’s Cognitive Development


The aim of this study was to examine the impact of breastfeeding practices on the growth trajectories of children’s cognitive development. The authors used data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with variables on presence and duration of breastfeeding and standardized test scores obtained during three different panel waves (N = 2,681). After adjusting for covariates, the authors found that breastfed children had higher test scores but that breastfed and nonbreastfed children had similar growth trajectories in test scores over time. The results indicate that breastfeeding has an important effect on test scores and that subsequent schooling and other experiences during adolescence do not eliminate the breastfeeding gap that appears in very early childhood.



Huang, J., Peters, K. E., Vaughn, M. G., & Witko, C. M. (2014). Breastfeeding and trajectories of cognitive development. Developmental Science, 17, 451–462