Don't ask me about the sanity of sticking kids under 4 years old in an MRI just for research purposes. But, when the deed has been done we should take all the information from it we can. A research center compared the MRI brain results on three groups of children under the age of four. The first group was exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months. The second group was fed with a combination of formula and breast milk. The third group was fed only formula. The results of the MRI's showed that by the age of two years brain development was more pronounced in the group receiving exclusively breast milk. The exclusively formula-fed babies showed the least brain development. The mixed group fell in the middle. The areas of the brain that were more developed were those that control language, cognition, and emotional control.
First, this tells us that whatever breast milk a baby gets is helpful. Second, you do not have to breastfeed for years to see the maximum benefit - just three months showed the improvement. Third, the reason for the results is likely connected to the rich, human-friendly essential fatty acids present in breast milk. Essential fatty acids are vital to neurological well-being in humans. Mothers need to be aware that breast feeding will take essential fatty acids from their own tissues, so supplementing good fats while breast feeding is a significantly helpful thing to do while nursing. So, bottom line is: Mom's supplement your omega-3 fatty acids and nurse your baby for at least three months.
You can read the reported research findings by clicking here.