2am mumsNew mothers have been encouraged to breastfeed their babies until the age of one after a US study showed that it can result in higher test scores. 

Seven-year-olds in the Boston-based study who had been breastfed for the first year scored an average of four points higher in a verbal IQ test. 

This translates to an increase of 0.35 points for every extra breastfed month and, according to study lead Dr Mary Belfort, further evidence to support exclusive breastfeeding. 

"These findings support recommendations to promote exclusive breastfeeding through six months and continuation through at least age one," she said.

Sustaining breastfeeding
Fellow author Dr Dimitri Christakis added: "The problem is not so much that women do not initiate breastfeeding, it is that they don't sustain it.

"Around 70% of [American] women initiate breastfeeding but by six months, only 35% still do." 

Many women turn to formula milk after a few months but the scientists suggest that some elements only available in breast milk offer extra benefits. 

Nutrients such as docosahexaeonic can enhance mental development in babies and infants.

Feed Finder app
In an additional development to help use of breast milk, scientists have Newcastle University have invented a new breastfeeding app.

The Feed Finder app allows mothers to rate cafes, restaurants & shops on factors such as hygiene, privacy, baby facilities and affordability.

Dr Madelaine Balaam helped create the app and said: "First-time mums can feel uncomfortable about feeding in public. We hope it helps women enjoy breastfeeding."