Want Baby to Be Smarter? Feed Him on Demand!

Photo: Thinkstock
Photo: Thinkstock

Wondering whether you should schedule baby’s feedings or just feed him when he signals he’s hungry? New research suggests that feeding on demand could actually lead to higher IQ’s and better standardized test scores than strict feeding schedule do. The study, from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and Oxford University in the UK, examined the effects of scheduled and on-demand feeding. According to the UK’s The Guardian, researchers took a sample of 10, 419 children born in the early 1990s and looked at a range of background factors like their parents’ level of education, family income, child’s gender and age, maternal health and parenting styles. They found that the difference between babies fed on demand and on schedule was present in both breastfed and bottle-fed babies, despite the other factors. Researchers also looked at babies whose moms tried to feed on a schedule but were unable to — for those babies, there was a higher level of IQ similar to those babies who were fed on-demand.

Experts believe that babies fed on-demand may be smarter because baby’s brain development depends on communications between his “emotional brain” and his mother’s response.

But don’t think that on-demand feeding will make your baby a future member of Mensa! Researchers say that it won’t necessarily move your kid from the bottom to the top of his class, but it could move baby up four or five IQ points.

Do you feed baby on-demand? What do you think of this study?