Between breast milk and formula, breast milk is by far the most beneficial substance to feed your infant. Many major medical organizations have recommended that a mother breastfeeds her child for the first six to twelve months (AAP, 2005, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2002, and U.S DHHS, 2000 as cited in the Annual Editions). .
Studies have shown that when a newborn is breastfed it has slightly enhanced the child's performance on tests and their cognitive development (AAP Section on Breastfeeding; 2005, p. 496 as cited in The Annual Editions). .
In the Annual Editions, Elizabeth Soliday talks a lot about the benefits to breast feeding. One main example is that children who were breastfed have been seen to have higher test scores. Breast milk is full of nutrients, vitamins and antibodies that are essential to the newborns development. When children from both groups, those who were breastfed and those who were formula fed, were tested at age one, there was no difference amongst their Bayley scales. A Bayley scale is a series of measurements that assess the motor, language and cognitive development of infants and toddlers (Soliday, 2007 as cited in The Annual Editions). However when they were tested again at the age of two, those children who were breastfed were seen to have the higher test scores (Makrides, Neumann, Simmer, Pater, and Gibson, 2000, as cited in the Annual Editions). However this could be based on the fact that the brain isn't fully developed and continues to grow from birth through age six, and the children are functioning at considerably less than full capacity (Hanaoka, Takashima, & Morooka, 1998 as cited in the Annual Editions).
For the first few days of breastfeeding, the mother's milk contains colostrum. Colostrum is a thick, yellowish substance in breast milk containing important antibodies that are passed from the mother to the newborn (Cook and Cook, 2014).