Further proof that breast is best comes from researchers who have discovered that breastfed babies enjoy a slight advantage in their neurological development than babies given formula milk.
The critical period seems to be the first three weeks of life when breast milk can be particularly beneficial. It can be especially crucial in helping the development of a child slightly disadvantaged neurologically at birth.
A study team from the University Hospital at Groningen in the Netherlands studied 135 breast fed children and 391 fed on formula nine years later.
The researchers, led by Dr C I Lanting, believe that polyunsaturated fats found in breast milk may have a role in brain development (The Lancet, 12 November 1994).
Breastfeeding offers a baby natural immunity against many life threatening illnesses, The Lancet says in an editorial. Despite this, many mothers are still discouraged from breastfeeding and are not given the support they need in the early stages.
!AThe Lancet, 5 November 1994.