For preterm babies, what is linked to better cognitive, academic and behavioural outcomes? More breast milk!
Babies born preterm are more likely to have lower academic achievement in maths and reading, and to be at higher risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now a new study from Australia finds if a baby is born preterm (before 33 weeks’ gestation), a higher intake of their mother’s breast milk whilst in a NICU can affect cognitive, academic and behavioural outcomes.
Many studies have shown breastfeeding can impact neurodevelopmental outcomes.
For example, one of my recent blog-articles summarised three 2021 studies which found breastfed children scored higher in intelligence quotient (IQ) or neurocognitive tests.
Whilst many studies focus on full-term babies, but what about preterm infants?
Research has shown that babies born preterm are more likely to have lower academic achievement in maths, reading and other skills, and at greater risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
With very preterm infants (born before 33 weeks’ gestation) — could receiving greater quantities of their mother’s own breast milk whilst in the NICU affect later cognitive, academic, and behavioral outcomes?
A new observational study from Austalia provides some answers to this question.
This blog article is (hopefully) an easy-to-understand explanation of some of the key points from this new study.
Stuck for time? Here is a super-quick summary — The study finds higher maternal milk intake during a stay in the neonatal NICU unit was associated with higher performance IQ, better academic achievement in reading and maths, and fewer attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms at age 7.
This was an observational cohort study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital together with collaborators at the South Australian Health and Medical Research.