In the spring of 1997 new studies demonstrated that problem solving skills and reasoning are largely established by age one and that the single most important predictor of later intelligence, school success and social competence was based on the number of words an infant hears each day from an “attentive, engaged person.” That person would naturally be the mother, and breastfeeding provides that one “attentive, engaged person.”
The 1997 discussion centered on the importance of the first three years of life and especially the first year of life when the infant’s brain is growing at a tremendous rate. Breastfeeding is also the best nutrition for nourishing the infant’s brain.
As a result of this research Newsweek published a 1997 issue in which the entire magazine was devoted to the “critical first three years of life.” (Some of this research is in The Crucial First Three Years available at this website. See below.) All the research during that year could be summarized by two points.
1) It showed the importance of a consistent caregiver.
2) It showed the importance of breast milk.
Needless to say, prolonged breastfeeding as God intended for mother and baby already provides both the consistent caregiver and the breast milk for the baby. God’s plan is so good!