The Breastfed Brain

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I’ve been doing some baby research for my upcoming book and I’m focusing on brain development this week.  I found a great study that I wanted to share with you.

Brown University actually used baby-friendly MRI testing to look at the baby’s brain development over time and how it related to breastfeeding.

Breastfed babies had 20-30% more white matter than babies who were formula fed.

The white matter helps the brain communicate with itself to different parts of the brain. It includes the myelin which insulates the nerve fibres to allow for the electrical signals to go quickly.

The growth in these areas of the brain that deal with language, emotional function, and cognition.

What they also found was that even just a little bit of breastmilk helped improve the brain function. Exclusively breastfeeding had the best results followed by a combination of formula and breastmilk. Just formula had the least amount of growth.

Does this mean that your baby is doomed if they just got formula?

Not at all! There are so many other ways to improve your baby’s brain development including all the love and care and attention you are giving them. Maybe those breastfed babies have a slight advantage while we are creating The Super Baby, but building a Super Baby has many aspects.

So let go of the mommy guilt if you could just do formula and breastfeeding didn’t work out for you.

And if you breastfeed – keep going! The longer the better, the study found. Do it for as long as it works for you, your baby and your life.

Talk soon!

Dr. Whitney