Abstract

This paper investigates whether breastfeeding affects 5- to 6-year old children's cognitive development using three U.S. longitudinal data sets. The results for the full samples roughly point to a dose-response effect of breastfeeding on children's cognitive outcomes, with breastfeeding six months or more associated with about one-tenth of a standard deviation increase in cognitive test scores. The breastfeeding effects do not appear to be due to differences in maternal employment, cognitive ability, or parenting skills. In contrast, within-sibling results show no statistically significant breastfeeding effect.

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Supplementary data