New research shows that the longer a mother decides to breast-feed, the better her child’s brain will develop, The New York Times reports. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics by researchers at the Harvard Medical School enrolled 1,312 pregnant women. For each additional month the babies were breast-fed, the study shows, their verbal abilities and nonverbal I.Q. scores became markedly higher throughout childhood. Pediatric experts are now theorizing that the nutrients in breast milk may directly benefit a developing infant’s brain. Doctors suggest that women continue breast-feeding through at least one year of their child’s life to optimize their cognitive development.

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