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.