On Demand FeedingThe findings of a very interesting study were published earlier this spring. A group of scientists from Essex and Oxford Universities found connections between on-demand feeding and further development of children, especially their mental abilities. Scientists found out that babies and infants who are fed on demand perform better in school and generally have 4-5 points higher IQ compared to their peers, especially the ones who were fed by their moms to a schedule, regardless of their being bottle-fed or breastfed. These findings were published in one of the recent issues of in the European Journal of Public Health, along with the comments and opinions of experts regarding this interesting issue.

For their research, the scientists used the data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which had extensive information on more than 10 thousand children born two decades ago in the UK’s Bristol area. For the study, three groups of babies were formed. The first one included the babiesĀ  whose moms followed very strict routine of on-demand feeding their babies (starting from 4-5 weeks). fed on demandThe second group included only the babies whose moms used to strictly feed their babies to a schedule (like every 3 or 4 hours). Finally, the last group included only those babies whose moms tried to follow on schedule feeding routine but very often they did not manage to stick to the schedule too strictly.

Then, the scientists looked at average performance in school of the kids from all three groups, at the age of 8. For that, the expert used regular IQ scores, as well as the results of national curriculum tests, which all British children have to pass at the age of 5, 7, 11, and 14. It turned out that those kids who were always fed on demand demonstrated much better performance and scored generally higher in the mentioned tests, compared to those kids who were fed to a schedule. At that, children with those moms who tried to feed on schedule but usually failed to do so, had similar scores to the once of the kids who were fed on schedule as babies.

Also, the scientists found out that moms who used on-demand feeding were more educated, a little older, had full families, as well as better social and economic situation. In addition, those moms who fed their babies to a schedule were more likely to enjoy their parenting, and usually had more sleep compared to the moms of fed on-demand babies. The scientific group members underline that their findings take into account all other factors which can influence kids’ mental development and performance in school, including their age and sex, economic situation in the family, their parents’ education and preferred parenting styles, etc. ‘This research is based on large-scale data and we are confident that there is a very low risk that the results arose by chance,’ Dr Maria Iacovou, one of the study leaders, Senior Research Fellow and Director of Graduate Studies from the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Essex University, said.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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