The study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, looked at the academic achievement of siblings -- one of whom was breast fed as an infant and one of whom was not -- found that an additional month of breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high school GPA of 0.019 points and an increase in the probability of college attendance of 0.014.
American University professor Joseph Sabia and University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They said more than one-half of the estimated effect on high school grades of being breast fed, and approximately one-fifth of the estimated effect on college attendance, can be linked to improvements in cognitive ability and health.
The researchers examined the breast feeding histories and high school grades of 126 siblings from 59 families.
"The results of our study suggest that the cognitive and health benefits of breast feeding may lead to important long-run educational benefits for children," Sabia said in a statement.