Breastfeeding benefits babies’ brains

June 15, 2013 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

A new study finds more evidence that breastfeeding is good for babies’ brains.

Breastfeeding babies brain

MRI images, taken while children were asleep, showed that infants who were exclusively breastfed for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula or a combination of formula and breastmilk. Images show development of myelisation by age, left to right.

The study made use of specialised, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the brain growth in a sample of children under the age of 4. The research found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breastmilk. The extra growth was most pronounced in parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition, the research showed.

Reference: Breastfeeding and early white matter development: A cross-sectional study. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.090

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