Just yesterday I realized that I have no idea how often I nurse my 6-month-old daughter Peony each day. Four times? Six times? She’s now eating solid foods twice daily so it’s certainly less than it was a few months ago. But she’s on no discernible schedule because I feed her on demand. It doesn’t allow for me to have much alone time or me time (particularly since I gave up pumping and storing milk a few months ago), but I figure the breastfeeding window is so relatively short that I can have a life when I’m done.
And then I read this article about how feeding on demand possibly impacts a baby’s IQ, and I kind of felt extra proud. Partly because I totally failed at nursing my older daughter, and have managed to succeed this time. But more so because who doesn’t want to hear that something they’re already doing for their child is even more rewarding than previously thought?
A British study that was published in the European Journal of Public Health a few days ago asserts that babies who are breast- or bottle-fed on demand perform better academically compared to those who are fed on a schedule, Fox News Latino reported.
The data was taken from research on more than 10,000 children. Demand-fed babies bested scheduled-fed babies by four to five point on IQ tests taken when they were 8-years-old. Kids at ages five, seven, 11 and 14 also showed higher scores.
It’s not a statistically highly significant difference, the lead researcher said. But it’s noticeable.
Of course, there are benefits to schedule-fed babies, too, particularly for mothers. And as always, and with everything, more research is needed.
But for an on-demand feeding mom like me, it’s nice to know there are more benefits to what I’m doing — and spending a lot of time doing (although I still don’t know how much time, exactly) — beyond what I already knew.
Do you feed on demand, or are the feedings for your baby scheduled?
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