Scientists have established that nutritional needs and brain development differ in premature babies compared to those born at full term. Findings published in The journal of Pediatrics found that babies born prematurely, who were fed breast milk within the first 28 days of life had large volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent age.
Later assessment of these babies at 7 year old demonstrated higher IQ, academic achievement, memory, and motor skills.
Subjects enrolled in this study were 224 infants born at less than 30 weeks' gestation or weighed less than 1250 gm at birth weight.
The team recorded the daily volume of breast milk and formula intake for the first 28 days of life.
The data showed that premature babies could gain benefit in brain development if they are fed breast milk after birth.