According to researchers at Brown Medical School, premature infants fed with breast milk in the hospital did better on tests of mental development later in life than did others fed only formula.
These findings are the first of its kind to show the benefits of breast milk for babies born weighing less than 2 pounds, 3 ounces.
Researchers tracked 1,035 extremely low-birth weight infants born at 15 hospitals. About three-quarters of the babies received at least some breast milk in the hospital. One-quarter received only formula.
Even when the researchers took education and income into account, the breast-milk babies scored higher on tests of mental development when they were 18 months old than the formula babies. The more breast milk the babies consumed, the better they did on the tests.
These latest findings appear in the July 2006 issue of Pediatrics.
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