Research Highlights: Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50

mother breastfeeding her child
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Women Who Breastfeed May Have Better Mental Health At The Age of 50

  • Breastfeeding may give long-term health benefits to women in addition to the known benefits on the child.
  • Breastfeeding can also influence mental health.
  • However, breastfeeding has been diminishing after the industrial era; thus, it is important to understand the effects of breastfeeding on our lifespan.
  • Researchers studied how breastfeeding influences mental health in women.
  • The research involved neuropsychological test battery and interviewed Southern California women age 50 and above.
  • A neuropsychological test battery is a test used to evaluate the condition and function of the brain, including the cause of abnormalities, the type, and localization/lateralization of brain injury.[1][2]
  • The results showed that women who breastfed exhibited better mental performances compared to women who did not breastfeed.
  • Previous studies have shown that breastfeeding is correlated to a lower risk of certain diseases such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer.
  • Researchers speculated that most women in the past after their menopausal stage have better cognitive performance due to the prevalence of breastfeeding.


Molly Fox, Ph.D, Prabha Siddarth, Ph.D, Hanadi Ajam Oughli, M.D, Sarah A Nguyen, M.D, Michaela M Milillo, B.S, Yesenia Aguilar, M.S, Linda Ercoli, Ph.D, Helen Lavretsky, M.D., M.S, Women who breastfeed exhibit cognitive benefits after age 50, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2021;, eoab027,

[1] Walsh, K.W. (1991). Understanding Brain Damage: A Primer of Neuropsychological Evaluation (2nd. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone

[2] Darby, D., & Walsh, K.W. (2005). Walsh’s Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach, (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone.