Love to see articles like this that encourage mothers to breastfeed. A new study out of Greece shows a strong association between longer breastfeeding (6 months or more) and better all-over development in children. I would even go one further and say babies who are breastfed end up in speech clinics much less than bottle-fed babies.
It seems every family I work with at the Morgan Hill Speech and Myofunctional Therapy clinic reports that their child did not breastfeed for a variety of different reasons. Many at the age of 8 are seen for problems with tongue thrust, an infantile swallowing pattern where the tongue protrudes through the teeth for the swallow. In other words, their facial muscles did not develop into a more mature swallowing pattern. Studies show babies who are bottle-fed have less developed oral, lip and facial muscles than those who breastfeed for 6 months or longer (a recommendation of the World Health Organization). So these babies may grow up to be children with less developed facial muscles. Chewing/swallowing and speech skills are known to develop simultaneously. Although not every bottle-fed baby ends up in a speech clinic, those children who do need speech therapy or tongue thrust therapy often were bottle-fed.
Breastfeeding your baby promotes strength, coordination, range of motion and sensitivity of the oral-facial muscles. Plus it improves the mother-child bond, and helps with weight loss for the mother. Link here to a PPT on the benefits of breastfeeding, common problems and effective solutions (written by a speech pathologist).
Have a look at this article for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies.
It would be so great to support moms to breastfeed 6 months or longer to ensure a child has the best development of facial muscles for chewing and swallowing as well as speech and language skills.
If you are a mom who needs support breastfeeding I encourage you to contact La Leche League International to find a group in your area. La Leche League is an international nonprofit organization that distributes information on, and promotes, breastfeeding. It was founded in 1956 in Franklin Park, Illinois, USA, and has a presence in sixty-eight countries. Local groups are organized with free monthly meetings, and free phone support, using volunteer leaders who are also breastfeeding moms.