A number of studies have shown that breast milk contributes to children’s health, but a new study has shown that it can have positive effects on the development of their brains as well.
In a study of 180 preterm babies, researchers found that children who received more breast milk during their first 28 days had higher IQs, greater academic achievement, and better motor skills by age seven.
The study, published in July 2016 in The Journal of Pediatrics, was based on observation of preterm babies, which found that children who had at least 50% breast milk more days than not performed better later in life.
While this is only one study, and the results need to be repeated in further research, the results are interesting, and they point to ways that we can help improve children’s lives. The benefits of breast milk are many, but mothers of preterm babies do have some trouble creating it, so the researchers stress that these mothers need extra support during this time.
“This is not only important for moms, but also for hospitals, employers, and friends and family members, so that they can provide the support that’s needed during this time when mothers are under stress and working so hard to produce milk for their babies,” said Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, a researcher and physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author of the study.
There are some faults in the study, which hasn’t fully accounted for other factors that contribute to children’s development, such as other aspects of maternal care for young children. A lot can happen between birth and seven years which can have an impact on the way children develop and how they perform in school.All Categories
Future studies will likely make use of MRI information to help determine the exact effects and benefits of a diet high in breast milk, as well as investigating things like the level of maternal education mothers have, as well as their access to existing support networks or their direct involvement in their children’s development in other areas.