STUDY: Premature babies fed breast milk are smarter and more skilled

STUDY: Premature babies fed breast milk are smarter and more skilled

Preemies fed more breast milk perform better in IQ and motor skills tests when they are old, according to a new study

It’s been long established that nothing comes close to breast milk when it comes to your baby’s nutrition, and more studies are reinforcing the fact. A recent study published in The Journal of Paediatrics has found that breast milk gives a significant boost to premature babies’ mental and physical development.

The study was conducted with 180 babies born before 30 weeks gestation, and followed until age 7.

breastfeeding preemies

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Premature babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function. These results support existing recommendations for using breastmilk to feed preterm babies during their hospitalization.

Click to the next page to read what the researchers said we should all learn from the findings.

Building a support network

The takeaway from the study is not just that moms of preemies should try to feed their babies breast milk as much as possible. These moms, who are already in so much stress, should be supported by their networks so that they can produce more milk with ease.

“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 lead author Mandy Brown Belfort, MD in a press release.

breastfeeding preemies

Photo: Dreamstime

“Many mothers of preterm babies have difficulty providing breast milk for their babies, and we need to work hard to ensure that these mothers have the best possible support systems in place to maximize their ability to meet their own feeding goals.”

“It’s also important to note that there are so many factors that influence a baby’s development, with breast milk being just one,” Belfort added. It should be noted that the study has its limitations, as it did not factor factors like maternal involvement.

READ: Premature babies show less interest in others says a study

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