Print Edition - 2019-02-07  |  Health and Living

Mother’s friendships may be good for babies

  • Toddler’s health

Feb 7, 2019-

When new mothers have friends ready to step in and help them, they have toddlers who score better on cognitive tests than the babies of women with smaller social support networks, a US study suggests.

Strong social ties to friends and family have long been linked to better behavioral and physical health outcomes for adults. And plenty of previous research also indicates that infants’ and toddlers’ bonds with caregivers can have a lasting impact on children’s emotional, intellectual and social development.

But less is known about how the caregivers’ own social connections might influence early childhood cognitive development.

For the current study, researchers examined data on 1,082 mother-child pairs. They questioned women about their family structure, friendships and relationships in their communities and also looked at test results from cognitive assessments done when kids were 2 years old.

Overall, mothers had an average of 3.5 friends in their social support networks. When they had more, their kids had higher cognitive test scores than when they had fewer.

Published: 07-02-2019 11:30

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