Preterm and low birth weight infants are at higher risk of neurodevelopmental outcomes. Breastfeeding offers several beneficial aspects for them both physically and psychologically. This study aimed to describe the average neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants and examine the associations between neurodevelopment and breastfeeding among Hungarian preterm infants at 12 months of corrected age.
One hundred fifty-four preterm infants with low birth weight (< 2500 g) and gestational age < 37 weeks and their mothers living in Hungary were participated in this cross-sectional examination. Bayley-III Screening Test (Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Screening Test, Third Edition) was administered to measure cognitive, language, and motor skills of infants. Breastfeeding data was obtained through parental anamnesis. To analyze data Mann-Whitney tests and Spearmen's rank correlation test were used to.
Concerning risk of developmental delay, receptive and expressive language and fine motor subscales were the lowest. Examination of the duration of breastfeeding and neurodevelopmental performance identified higher neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants who were breastfed, significantly higher cognitive (U = 2047.5, p = 0.023) and fine motor (U = 2096.0, p = 0.037) skills were found. We identified significant positive correlations between the duration of breastfeeding and cognitive, expressive language and fine motor skills.
Breastfed infants had better cognitive and fine motor skills at 12 months of corrected age, but we cannot unambiguously conclude that the duration of breastfeeding had a sole positive effect on the neurodevelopment at 12 months of corrected age. With the Bayley-III Screening Test we could identify the most affected skills in terms of risk for developmental delay, which are needed to improve.