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Impact of breast-feeding on psychomotor and neuropsychological development in children of diabetic mothers: role of the late neonatal period

Elke Rodekamp, Thomas Harder, Rainer Kohlhoff, Joachim W. Dudenhausen and Andreas Plagemann


Aim: Previous data from our Kaulsdorf Cohort Study (KCS) suggest that early neonatal ingestion (1st week) of breast milk from diabetic mothers (diabetic breast milk, DBM) may increase the risk of being overweight and delay speech development in offspring of diabetic mothers (ODM). Late neonatal DBM ingestion (2nd–4th week), however, not independently influenced the risk of overweight. We investigated whether late neonatal DBM ingestion might independently influence neuro-development.

Methods: Achievement of developmental milestones according to late neonatal DBM intake was analyzed in 242 ODM.

Results: No impact of DBM ingestion on psychomotor parameters was observed. In contrast, it negatively influenced onset of speaking (no DBM: median 44.0 weeks, range 31.0–72.0; some DBM: 48.0, 24.0–100.0; DBM only: 52.0, 28.0–84.0; P=0.037) and halved the probability of reaching this milestone at any time point (hazard ratio: 0.53, 95% confidence interval: 0.31–0.91). However, adjustment for DBM volume ingested during the early neonatal period weakened the hazard ratio towards non-significance. In the fully adjusted model, the hazard ratio was halved, but insignificant.

Conclusions: Our results underscore that neonatal DBM ingestion, particularly during the first week of life, may delay speech development, an important indicator of cognitive development. Further studies are urgently recommended on consequences of breast-feeding for neurodevelopment in ODM.


Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Plagemann Head of “Experimental Obstetrics” Clinic of Obstetrics Charité– University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1 13353 Berlin Germany Tel.: +49-30-450 52 40 41 Fax: +49-30-450 52 49 28


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Published Online: 2006-12-01
Published in Print: 2006-12-01

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