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Cohort study
Breastfeeding is important for cognitive development in term and preterm infants
  1. Lynne P Lewallen
  1. School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Lynne P Lewallen
    The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Nursing, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, USA; lplewall{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Cognitive development is enhanced with any breastfeeding, but more significantly with at least 4 months of breastfeeding.

  • Preterm infants may especially benefit from breastfeeding.

  • Studies using multi-ethnic participants should be conducted to see if the increase in cognitive ability shown in this study holds true among other ethnic groups.


The health benefits of breastfeeding for infants have been well documented. International1 and country-specific2 professional organisations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 1 year. Quigley et al sought to measure the …

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