Late weaning and maternal closeness, associated with advanced motor and visual maturation, reinforce autonomy in healthy, 2-year-old children.
Villar J., Ochieng R., Staines-Urias E., Fernandes M., Ratcliff M., Purwar M., Barros F., Horta B., Cheikh Ismail L., Albernaz E., Kunnawar N., Temple S., Giuliani F., Sandells T., Carvalho M., Ohuma E., Jaffer Y., Alison Noble J., Gravett M., Pang R., Lambert A., Bertino E., Di Nicola P., Papageorghiou A., Stein A., Bhutta Z., Kennedy S.
We studied neurodevelopmental outcomes and behaviours in healthy 2-year old children (N = 1306) from Brazil, India, Italy, Kenya and the UK participating in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. There was a positive independent relationship of duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and age at weaning with gross motor development, vision and autonomic physical activities, most evident if children were exclusively breastfed for ≥7 months or weaned at ≥7 months. There was no association with cognition, language or behaviour. Children exclusively breastfed from birth to <5 months or weaned at >6 months had, in a dose-effect pattern, adjusting for confounding factors, higher scores for "emotional reactivity". The positive effect of EBF and age at weaning on gross motor, running and climbing scores was strongest among children with the highest scores in maternal closeness proxy indicators. EBF, late weaning and maternal closeness, associated with advanced motor and vision maturation, independently influence autonomous behaviours in healthy children.