According to research published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, women over the age of 50 who breastfed their infants had experienced an improvement in cognitive abilities.
The study was conducted at UCLA.
“While many studies have found that breastfeeding improves a child’s long-term health and well-being, our study is one of very few that has looked at the long-term health effects for women who had breastfed their babies,” said one of the study’s authors in a news release.
“Our findings, which show superior cognitive performance among women over 50 who had breastfed, suggest that breastfeeding may be ‘neuroprotective’ later in life.”
During their study, the UCLA team analyzed data from 115 women as part of two 12-week clinical trials. 64 of the women had suffered from depression while 51 did not.
“Future studies will be needed to explore the relationship between women’s history of breastfeeding and cognitive performance in larger, more geographically diverse groups of women. It is important to better understand the health implications of breastfeeding for women, given that women today breastfeed less frequently and for shorter time periods than was practiced historically,” a co-author of the study said in the news release.