Feeding Patterns Influence Brain Development in Infancy

Chloe Barrera, Krystal D. Mize, Nancy Jones

Abstract


Breastfeeding has been shown to promote more optimal neurodevelopmental outcomes (Jing, Gilchrist, Badger, & Pivik, 2010). The present study examined feeding patterns and infant brain development, using electroencephalograph (EEG) coherence (a measure of the relationship of two different electrode sites across regions). 113 mothers and their 1- and 3-month old infants participated. At each age, EEG was obtained from frontal (F3, F4), central (C3, C4), parietal (P3, P4) and occipital (O1, O2) sites. A series of repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) yielded significant effects, with greater coherence from the frontal region to parietal regions and central to occipital region for breastfed compared to bottle-fed infants. Multiple regression analyses showed that feeding type (longer duration of breastfeeding) and quality of feeding type (exclusively breastfeeding) uniquely predict more optimal brain patterns in the left hemisphere (and greater coherence from anterior to posterior regions). Findings from the study indicate that infants who are breastfed show more mature patterns of brain development.

Keywords


Breatsfeeding; Infant Development; Nutrition Health; Early Childhood Feeding Practices; Early Childhood Brain Development

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