Eating Fish While Pregnant, Longer Breastfeeding, Lead To Better Infant Development, Research Finds
Here's another study , this time from Denmark, backing up the findings that omega 3 long chain fatty acids DHA and EPA and human milk rather than cow's milk derivatives can optimise a baby's cognitive brain development.
The study, which appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by researchers from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Maternal Nutrition Group from the Department of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. These findings provide further evidence that omega-3 fatty acids and compounds in breast milk are beneficial to infant development.
The children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. For example, among mothers who ate the least fish, 5.7% of their children had the lowest developmental scores at 18 months, compared with only 3.7% of children whose mothers had the highest fish intake. Compared with women who ate the least fish, women with the highest fish intake (about 60 grams - 2 ounces - per day on average) had children 25% more likely to have higher developmental scores at 6 months and almost 30% more likely to have higher scores at 18 months.
Longer duration of breastfeeding was also associated with better infant development, especially at 18 months. Breastmilk also contains omega-3 fatty acids. The benefit of fish consumption was similar among infants breastfed for shorter or longer durations.
Powdered milk made from cow's milk is a poor substitute for human milk and health professionals should stop encouraging the use of powdered milks to the detriment of mothers confidence to breast feed.
Sustainable alternatives to fish oil made from algae are now available. Until the age of 5 infants seem to most benefit from DHA but so far the algae alternatives are all DHA rich.
See omega 3 long chain fatty acids DHA and EPA for more details and the importance of DHA and EPA omega 3 fats