Breastfeeding boosts neurological development

sciencenews_breastfeeding.jpgScience News reports on research that suggests that breastfed babies show measurable benefits in terms of action control and coordination.

The coordination of movement relies heavily on good general brain function. If you ever visit a neurologist for a neurological examination, you’ll notice the majority of tests are to do with balance, muscle tone, movement and reflexes.

Hence, the examination of these functions can give a clue to how well the brain is developing.

A research team led by Dr Amanda Sacker set out to use these sort of tests to compare how breastfed and non-breastfed babies were developing.

To the researchers’ surprise, [research collaborator] Kelly notes, children “were about 50 percent less likely to have a [developmental] delay if they had prolonged, exclusive breastfeeding when compared to those who were never breastfed.” They defined breastfeeding as prolonged when it had lasted at least 4 months. Even babies receiving mother’s milk for a short while‚Äî2 months or less‚Äîwere 30 percent less likely to have a developmental delay than those who received solely infant formula, beginning right after birth.

The same team also recently reported results from another study that suggested that breastfeeding is linked to resilience in the face of psychological stress.

Link to Science News story.

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