Breast-Feeding Is Good for Brain Development
Magnetic resonance imaging of infants’ brains shows that breastfeeding leads to increased development in the white matter regions of the brain. The white matter regions of the brain are associated with social emotional development, motor ability and language development. Three groups of infants matched for a variety of factors were divided into groups based on whether they were exclusively breastfed, fed a combination for breast milk and formula or given only formula. Greater increases were associated with more breast milk and less formula. Read more about this study out of Brown University and King’s College (UK) in a recent NY Times article.
Babies Can Sense One Another’s Emotions by 5 Months of Age
A recent Bringham Young University study looked at whether or not young infants can recognize emotions of other infants. In the experiment, 3.5- and 5-month-old infants were exposed to a series of happy and sad infant vocalizations along with side-by-side videos in which one infant’s facial expression was happy and smiling and another’s was sad and frowning. Results demonstrated that 5-month-olds were able to match happy sounds with the happy facial expressions, whereas 3.5-month-olds could not. These findings seem to suggest that by 5 months of age, infants detect, discriminate, and match the facial and vocal expressions of other infants. Read about the study in this Salt Lake Tribune article.
The Link Between Introduction of Solid Foods and Type 1 Diabetes
A new study from the University of Colorado shows that infants that were introduced to solid foods before four months of age have twice the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes compared to children who were introduced to solid foods after four months of age. The risk developing Type 1 Diabetes also decreases if the infant is still being breastfed when solid foods are introduced. The researchers suggested that more studies should be completed to determine whether specific types of food such as fruit before four months have an increased risk of diabetes compared to the introduction of rice after 6 months. Click here to read more.
Infants Know When They Will Be Picked Up
A study has found that infants as young as two months can recognize when they are going to be picked up before they actually are. Two studies were done on infants between two and four months of age during which their postural adjustments were measured while lying on a pressure mat. When their mothers reached out their arms, the infants increased their body rigidity making it easier to be picked up. This study shows that infants may be able to understand other people’s actions at an earlier age than originally thought. The Science Daily article is here.
This News Roundup was compiled and co-authored by Karen Burch, MA