Breast-fed babies grow into better behaved and more emotionally stable children than those that are bottle fed, a study has shown.
Five-year-olds who had been breast-fed were almost a third less likely to suffer behavioural problems severe enough to disrupt family life.
Those reared on bottled milk formula tended to display more troublesome traits such as neediness, anxiety, hyperactivity or lying and stealing.
The link between breastfeeding and better behaviour could be explained by fatty acids in mother's milk or bonding between child and parent, say scientists. Researchers analysed data from a survey of around 10,000 infants born in the UK over a 12-month period between 2000 and 2001.
In total, 29% of children born after a full-term pregnancy, and 21% of those born prematurely, were breast fed for at least four months. Parents were asked to complete Strength and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs) designed to assess the behaviour of their children via a scoring system.