The study was led by Dr. Maria Iacovou of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and at the University of Oxford. It is the first-ever large-scale study investigating the long-term outcomes of ‘schedule versus demand-fed babies’.
The study found that scheduled feeding times did in fact have benefits for mothers. High levels of well-being and feelings of confidence were among the positive effects felt.
On the flipside, the study showed that demand-fed children had higher IQ scores at age 8. These kids also obtained higher school scores at ages 5, 7, 11 and 14. Iacovou noted that the difference in IQ levels hovered around 4 to 5 points. While the points would not be that significant in the higher and lower ends of class rankings, they do hold weight for children in the middle of the class.
Iacovou was quoted as saying that in “a class of 30 children, a child who is right in the middle of the class, ranked at 15th, might be, with an improvement of 4 or 5 IQ points, ranked higher, at about 11th or 12th in the class.”
Parents should take note that the study is a new one and as time permits, more findings would be made increasing available to the public. The important thing is not to panic. For parents who are no longer breastfeeding, do not dwell on the ‘what ifs’. Instead, look for ways to improve your child’s well-being at his age. For mums currently breastfeeding, perhaps consider demand-feeding. But do be sure to do your research beforehand.
Parents, we would love to hear your opinions on this. Should you now consider demand-feeding your babies
Read the full study here.