Researchers from Essex and Oxford Universities recently published the results of a study in the European Journal of Public Health that showed that moms should keep feeding those little babies on demand if they want their children to have higher IQs than their routinely scheduled friends.
The researchers looked at three types of mothers and babies – those who were fed on a strict schedule, those who were supposed to be fed on a schedule but weren’t really and those who were fed on demand.
The data came from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children that looked at over 10,000 children who were born in the Bristol area in the early 1990s.
The researchers were able to isolate that babies fed on demand showed higher IQ scores, by four to five points, at the age of 8; they performed better on national curriculum tests at the ages of 5, 7, 11 and 14.
Interestingly enough, the findings related to both bottle fed and breast fed babies, as reported by Dr Maria Iacovou from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University.
The researchers found a definite trade off, as mothers who fed on a schedule got more sleep and seemed to enjoy parenting more, while those who fed on demand had children who performed better on IQ tests.
Dr Iacovou cautioned people not to be too excited by this information just yet. As she said,
‘Nonetheless, this is the first and only study of its kind, and further research is needed before we can say categorically that how you feed your baby has a long-term impact on his or her IQ and academic attainment, and before we can say definitively what the mechanisms are by which this relationship comes about.’