Exclusive breastfeeding and developmental and behavioral status in early childhood

Olof H. Jonsdottir, Inga Thorsdottir, Geir Gunnlaugsson, Mary S. Fewtrell, Patricia L. Hibberd, Ronald E. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Breastfeeding during infancy may have beneficial effects on various developmental outcomes in childhood. In this study, exclusively breastfed infants were randomly assigned to receive complementary foods from the age of 4 months in addition to breast milk (CF, n = 60), or to exclusively breastfeed to 6 months (EBF, n = 59). At 18 months and again at 30-35 months of age, the children were evaluated with the Parent's Evaluation of Developmental Status questionnaire (PEDS) and the Brigance Screens-II. The parents completed the PEDS questionnaire at both time intervals and the children underwent the Brigance Screens-II at 30-35 months. At 30-35 months, no significant differences were seen in developmental scores from the Brigance screening test (p = 0.82). However, at 30-35 months a smaller percentage of parents in group CF (2%) had concerns about their children's gross motor development compared to those in group EBF (19%; p = 0.01), which remained significant when adjusted for differences in pre-randomization characteristics (p = 0.03). No sustained effect of a longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding was seen on selected measures of developmental and behavioral status at 18 months, although at 30-35 months, a smaller percentage of parents of children introduced to complementary foods at four months of age expressed concerns about their gross motor development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4414-4428
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2013

Other keywords

  • Behavior
  • Complementary feeding
  • Developmental status
  • Early childhood
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Randomized trial


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