5. Breastfed preterm babies may have better IQs, working memory, motor function
The study, led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, followed 180 preterm infants from birth to 7 years old.
The results showed that the preterm babies that received more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume at full term and better IQs, academic achievements, memory, and motor function by age 7. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breastfeeding rates are rising in the United States, and in 2011, 79 percent of newborns started to breastfeed. However, at 6 months, 49 percent were breastfeeding, and 27 percent at 12 months, which is below the recommended guidelines. With the known health benefits of breastfeeding for infants, children, and mothers, the CDC say that it is a key strategy to support mothers in initiating and continuing breastfeeding through professional lactation support.