This study investigated the effect of early feeding mode on the neurological condition at 42 months. For this purpose, healthy pregnant women were recruited in Groningen and Rotterdam. The Netherlands. Children were healthy and born at term. At 42 months, the children were neurologically examined by means of the Touwen/Hempel technique. In addition to the clinical diagnosis, the neurological findings were interpreted in terms of optimality. Special attention was paid to the quality of movements in terms of fluency. In total, 200 (51%) exclusively breastfed (for ≥ 6 weeks) and 194 (49%) formula-fed children were studied. Twelve (3%) 42-month-old children were considered to be neurologically mildly abnormal and 1 child was diagnosed as abnormal. No effect of the type of feeding was found on the clinical diagnosis or the neurological optimality. After adjustments for study centre and social, obstetric, perinatal and neonatal neurological differences, a beneficial effect of breastfeeding on the fluency of movements was found (odds ratio for non-optimal fluency 0.56; 95% confidence interval 0.37- 0.85). The prolongation of full breastfeeding beyond 6 weeks did not influence the quality of movements. In conclusion, among Dutch preschool children, there was a small advantageous effect of full breastfeeding during the first 6 weeks of life on the fluency of movements.

Breastfeeding, Child development, Essential fatty acids, Human milk, Infant nutrition, Neurological examination
dx.doi.org/10.1080/080352598750030870, hdl.handle.net/1765/63634
Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health
Department of Pediatrics

Lanting, C.I, Patandin, S, Weisglas-Kuperus, N, Touwen, B.C.L, & Boersma, H. (1998). Breastfeeding and neurological outcome at 42 months. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 87(12), 1224–1229. doi:10.1080/080352598750030870