The Importance of Breast feeding for Cognitive Development
As usual, traditions that have been followed for long always form subjects of debate. Traditionally women used to breast feed their infants till the next child is born or at least for a year without any complain. The situation has however changed as mothers now opt for infant formula readily available in our markets. This has raised a serious issue of debate as nutritionists and pediatrics as a whole still recommend six months exclusive breast feeding while manufactures of these products are capitalizing on the fact that today’s mothers are more busy thus has little time for their babies. Breast feeding had traditionally been associated with the development of strong immune system for babies, the single most reason why pediatrics always recommend six months exclusive breast feeding period to mothers. Studies currently have tried to address other reasons why breast feeding should be treated with importance. One of this reasons that has received renowned attention is the connection between breastfeeding and cognitive development. The importance of breast feeding for cognitive development was first explored by Hoefer and Hardy (1929) when they carried out a study on “later development of breast fed and artificially fed infants.” Since then this topic has been researched by many scholars. While most scholars argue that breast fed children ranks high on clinical studies done on cognitive function, others argue that these perceived differences can be attributed to other factors such as maternal education or socio-economic factors (Anderson, 1999). The development of cognitive functions in infants is of course a more complex process being influenced by many factors including genetics as well as environmental factors. The role played by nutrition an in this case breastfeeding cannot be under estimated either. This piece of work therefore seeks to address the role played by breast feeding in cognitive development. This is achieved through review of available literature including previous research on this topic. Recommendations on best practices as well as proposal for future research are also provided.
Review of literature
Breast fed children score good grades than those formula fed children? Is this some sort of a campaign slogan by supporters of breast feeding? Are there facts to support this luring statement? One of the important stories that our writers have not given coverage is perhaps the demonstrated direct relationship between breast milk and brain development. Considering the fact that at birth the brain is probably one third formed and the rest of the development takes place during the first few years after birth thus need for intake of nutrients that contribute directly. Studies have demonstrated that while cow milk would be best for the development of strong bones, breast milk is very essential for cognitive development. One of the most researched and a reported benefit of breastfeeding is its links with high IQ and measurable outputs in cognitive development as compared with artificial feeds (Anderson, 1999). The topic of breastfeeding and its role on cognitive development is not a new topic in the world of clinical research. This topic has been studied by many for over decades. While a general agreement exist among scholars that breast feeding is associated with high intellectual capacity, it is however unclear whether this advantage should solely be attributed to breastfeeding or other interacting factors.
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- The University of Liverpool