ELBW preemies fed breast milk continue to have greater mental development scores.
Following up on the effects of breast milk ingestion by extremely low birth weight (ELBW) premature infants, scientists found that those who received breast milk shortly after birth while still in the NICU continued to have greater mental development scores at 30 months than did infants who did not receive breast milk.
Infants who were fed breast milk performed better on the Mental Developmental Index (MDI)—the average MDI score was 76.5 for babies who did not receive breast milk, and 89.7 for those who did. Children were also readmitted to the hospital less frequently after discharge. Results were published online in the journal Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2006-3227).