Breastfeeding’s effect on cognitive development in low birth weight infants
Megan E. Sieloff
Psychology 238: Child Development
April 2, 2010
Aim: To compare two peer review journals which both comment on the effects of breastfeeding on children born with low birth weights. Method: Compare the articles Breastfeeding and intelligence of preschool children , and Effect of breastfeeding on cognitive development of infants born small for gestational age  to discuss findings and highlight both strengths and weaknesses. Results: Both articles have similarities in the end number of participants and general findings, but vary in research acquisition methods and slight focus of specifics examined between appropriate for gestational period age [AGA] and small for gestational age [SGA] in relation to length and exclusivity of breastfeeding as they relate to intelligence among full term infants in later years of development.
Breastfeeding’s effect on cognitive development in low birth weight infants Every time a research is done, there are varying participants in the study. Depending on the very specific goals of the research team, the data collected from one experiment to the next will be entirely varied in orientation and even acquisition style. There have been numerous researches done to ascertain the benefits, if any, to the length and exclusivity of breastfeeding versus non-breastfeeding on the cognitive development of infants. Among closely related articles by topic there is to be found a host of differences and similarities. In both articles that will be referred to, participants were enrolled for research trial at birth. Both studies examined children who were born full term, ≥37 weeks, defined AGA to be ≥10th percentile for sex and gestation, and defined SGA to be ≤10th percentile for sex and gestation age. From this point, the trials and research have similarities in overall findings, but split in many ways and in details. Slykerman et al (2005) focused research originally on the effects of breastfeeding on cognitive development of AGA and SGA children through intelligence measurements. This study had three distinct periods of time for information to be gathered. The first time data was collected was an interview with the mother of the child born into the study program and was considered phase one. Phase two occurred at twelve months of age, and was in the form of a questionnaire mailed to the mother. Phase three was an assessment of intelligence and another interview with the mother to collect data about the child’s nutrition and environmental factors which occurred at age three and one half to four years of age. Slykerman et al (2005) took into account variables that were naturally different and at times bias in the results of an intelligence assessment. Scores were adjusted to take into consideration such factors as the person administering the evaluation (although the assessment was considered blind, with the examiners not knowing who was AGA, SGA, or breastfed at birth), gender, the mother’s educational level, and mother’s marital status among other factors. In conclusion of this study it was found that children born AGA and SGA did not seem to benefit to a significant amount as per their collective intelligence scores by breastfeeding. Through this research, however, Slykerman et al (2005) found that there was a stronger correlation to the role of breastfeeding among the SGA group itself. Children breastfed for longer than twelve months showed significantly higher intelligence scores. There were positive correlations between SGA children and the length of exclusive breastfeeding duration. There was evidence that a crucial time period of five months showed marked cognitive development if the child had exclusively breastfed in that span, and continued to be breastfed following,...
References: Slykerman, R. F., Thompson, J. M. D., Becroft, D. M. O., Robinson, E., Pryor, J. E., Clark, P. M., Wild, C. J., & Mitchell, E. A. (2005). Breastfeeding and intelligence of preschool children.
Acta Pædiatrica, 9(7), 832-837. doi:10.1080/08035250510031601.
Rao, M., Hediger, M., Levine, R., Naficy, A., & Vik, T. (2002). Effect of breastfeeding on cognitive development of infants born small for gestational age.
Acta Pædiatrica, 91(3), 267-274. doi:10.1080/08035250252833905.
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