Longer Breastfeeding Tied to Better Development

There’s no doubt about the benefits of breastfeeding, but most of the benefits that are written about in medical journals is related to the nutritional and immunologic benefits of human breast milk. Here’s one more of many articles touting the developmental benefits of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding. Most of the studies compare breast milk (including pumped milk) to formula, but this study specifically states that children who where specifically breast-fed had significantly higher scores in cognitive development, receptive communication, expressive communication, and fine motor development. Children who were breastfed for more than 6 months had the highest scores compared with children that were never breastfed.

There’s a general consensus within the dental community that bottle-feeding can potentially promote dental crowding. The physical act of swallowing is very different when sucking from an artificial nipple vs. suckling from a mother’s breast. Dr. Brian Palmer has an excellent explanation on his website. 

In the original study, nowhere is where any mention of the biomechanics differences with breast-feeding versus sucking from an artificial nipple from a bottle. Poor swallowing mechanics leads to improper tongue motion, which can cause malocclusion (dental crowding), which in turn can increase your chance of narrowed airways and sleep-related breathing disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea). This is also why using a pacifier or even thumb sucking has similar, detrimental effects. 

What are your experiences with breast or bottle feeding and dental crowding issues in your children?

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2 thoughts on “Longer Breastfeeding Tied to Better Development

  1. My oldest sister was very into feeding her 4 kids natural foods and nursed each one from one to two years. Each one had to have braces.. They are all very smart with master’s degrees in engineering and computer science. However, two of them complain of fatigue which I believe is due to UARS. I think nursing them for as long as she did definitely helped their IQs. My sister herself has a very small jaw and crowded teeth and has high blood pressure and heart problems.

    I read a book last summer from the library “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” which states pregnant women who had a higher vitamin K2 intake had children with healthier bone development.. So maybe it’s a variety of nutritional issues. I don’t dispute nursing would be better for jaw development, however, in my sister’s case her kids had crooked teeth even though she nursed them for a very long time.. Wasn’t it mentioned before, by epigenetics, it takes 3 generations of healthy eating and breastfeeding to correct underdeveloped jaws.

  2. I was breastfed for 18 months. my son was breastfed for 16 months, almost exclusively til 11months. we both have high arched palates and narrow jaws with dental crowding, and UARS. we look just like my mother who was not breastfed. we are all mouth breathers with long faces. I am sure that breastfeeding helped, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. breastfeeding alone cannot reverse genetics and other environmental causes of small jaws.

    for example: Fluoride causes both maxillary and mandibular hypoplasia in rats. why are we putting this in our water supply?