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Guxens, M., Mendez, M. A., Molto-Puigmarti, C., Julvez, J., Garcia-Esteban, R., Forns, J., Ferrer, M., Vrijheid, M., Lopez-Sabater, M. C., Sunyer, J.

Breastfeeding, Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Colostrum, and Infant Mental Development

Pediatrics, 2011, 128, 4, e880, 9, IF: 5.391, PMID: 21930546

Background:Breastfeeding has been associated with improved neurodevelopment in children. However, it remains unknown to what extent nutritional advantages of breast milk may explain this relationship.Objective:We assessed the role of parental psychosocial factors and colostrum long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) levels in the relationship between breastfeeding and children\'s neurodevelopment.Methods:A population-based birth cohort was established in the city of Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain) as part of the INMA-INfancia y Medio Ambiente Project. A total of 657 women were recruited during the first trimester of pregnancy. Information about parental characteristics and breastfeeding was obtained by using a questionnaire, and trained psychologists assessed mental and psychomotor development by using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development in 504 children at 14 months of age.Results:A high percentage of breastfeeds among all milk feeds accumulated during the first 14 months was positively related with child mental development (0.37 points per month of full breastfeeding [95% confidence interval: 0.06-0.67]). Maternal education, social class, and intelligence quotient only partly explained this association. Children with a longer duration of breastfeeding also exposed to higher ratios between n-3 and n-6 PUFAs in colostrum had significantly higher mental scores than children with low breastfeeding duration exposed to low levels.Conclusions:Greater levels of accumulated breastfeeding during the first year of life were related to higher mental development at 14 months, largely independently from a wide range of parental psychosocial factors. LC-PUFA levels seem to play a beneficial role in children\'s mental development when breastfeeding levels are high


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