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Mother's choice to provide breast milk and developmental outcome.
  1. R Morley,
  2. T J Cole,
  3. R Powell,
  4. A Lucas
  1. MRC Dunn Nutrition Unit, Cambridge.


    The association between a mother's choice to provide breast milk and her baby's developmental status at 18 months post term was investigated in 771 low birthweight infants from five centres. Babies whose mothers chose to provide milk had an 8 point advantage in mean Bayley mental developmental index over infants of mothers choosing not to do so. A 4.3 point advantage remained after adjusting for demographic and perinatal factors. A similar finding was derived using a fundamentally different and questionnaire based test (academic scale of Developmental Profile II). Whether this significant residual developmental advantage relates to parental factors or to a beneficial effect of human milk itself on brain development has important implications for the nutritional management of premature babies.

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