We all know that breast-milk is best for our infant patients and we want mothers to breastfeed not just for the first six months, but hopefully for the first year of life. Will doing this result in improved mental, motor, and language status for our patients? Andres et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3121) address this question with developmental evaluations of infants 3, 6, 9, and 12 months old that were fed breast-milk, cow’s milk, or soy protein formulas. While the results are not dramatically different between all three, breast-milk still appears the winner when it comes to improving an infant’s cognitive development — but don’t take my opinion as fact — use the article as further evidence to convince your breast-feeding mothers to continue breastfeeding for at least the entire first year of life.
For those mothers who opt not to breast-feed throughout the first year, Qawasmi et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-2127) look at the role long chain polyunsaturated fatty-acid supplements might play to enhance infant cognition as assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The results might surprise you, but may also have you thinking about whether the Bayley is the best way to assess infant cognitive improvement from formula additives. Colombo and Carlson (doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-0934) comment on this article and the Bayley in an accompanying commentary that is well worth your consideration.