Breastfeeding increases IQ and brain development in preemies
Eat healthy and enjoy the benefits of breast-feeding. Happy breast-feeding week to you!Breastfeeding premature babies during their first month boost their intelligence quotient later in life, as per a research.The study followed 180 pre-term infants from their birth to seven years of age and found that babies, who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life, had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory and motor function.
Our data support current recommendations for using mother’s milk to feed preterm babies during their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. 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 researcher Mandy Brown Belfort, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US..
Researchers studied the infants born before 30 weeks gestation that was enrolled in the Victorian Infant Brain Studies cohort from 2001-2003.
They determined the number of days that infants received breast milk as more than 50 percent of their nutritional intake from birth to 28 days of life. Additionally, the researchers examined data related to regional brain volumes measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at each baby’s term equivalent age and at seven years old, and also looked at cognitive and motor testing at the age of seven.
The findings show that, across all babies, infants who received predominantly breast milk on more days during their NICU hospitalisation had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume, an area important for processing and transmitting neural signals to other parts of the brain, at term equivalent age, and by age seven, performed better in IQ, mathematics, working memory, and motor function tests.Overall, ingesting more human milk correlated with better outcomes, including larger regional brain volumes at term equivalent and improved cognitive outcomes at age seven.Researchers also noted some limitations on the study, including that it was observational.Although they adjusted for factors such as differences in maternal education, some of the effects could possibly be explained by other factors that were not measured, such as greater maternal involvement in other aspects of infant care.
The study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Early childhood development begins with a mother’s breast
breastfeeding is the best way to give your child a great start in life. We all need to do everything in our power to support women who want to breastfeed at any time and in any place.A child’s brain undergoes some remarkable changes in the first 3 years of life. Neural connections form more quickly than at any other stage as speech and language develops and the architecture and functionality of the brain are established.Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s HealthFlavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health
That’s why the sight of a mother breastfeeding her child always warms my heart. In addition to providing the perfect source of early nutrition, by breastfeeding she is also providing love and security. I know she’s giving her child the best start at life.
The evidence for exclusive breastfeeding starting at birth as the basis of early childhood development is indisputable. Studies published in The Lancet earlier this year confirmed what we have long believed, that babies fed exclusively on breast milk for at least the first 6 months have the best chance of thriving through childhood and adolescence.
We now also know that exclusive breastfeeding can confer life-long advantages. The Lancet reviews found a clear link between extended breastfeeding and higher IQ scores and school attainment. Researchers found that this leads to higher earnings in later life – 12% higher per hour in high-income countries, and 16% in low- and middle-income countries. Sadly, though, the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding remain unrealized in many parts of the world. Just 1 in 5 children is breastfed for 12 months in high-income countries, while a third of children aged between 6 months and 2 years receive no breast milk at all in low- and middle-income countries.
This deprives millions of children of the opportunity for optimal physical and mental development. Individually, this may limit their ability to achieve their personal and social goals. Collectively, it has an enormous negative impact on society.
The Lancet studies also estimate that US$ 300 billion in economic growth is lost every year due to the unrealized mental capacity of children who are not exclusively breastfed as infants.
Here are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mothers
1. It helps in reducing the blood loss that typically occurs post-delivery
2. There is no need to be worried about losing weight they gained during pregnancy. Breast- feeding helps shed those extra kilos and coming back to the original waist line. Women tend to burn extra 300-500 calories a day, while breastfeeding, that helps them lose pregnancy weight.
3. Nursing your baby decreases the risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.
4. Helps reduce the occurrence of heart problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol that affect women in equal measures. Studies have shown that women who breast fed their babies regularly are at a lower risk of heart disease.
5. Breast-feeding acts as a natural contraceptive. It helps in child spacing.
6. And the best part about breast-feeding is the bond it creates between the mother and the child.