These studies explore how infant feeding and relationship building impact growth and development in infancy and beyond.
A longitudinal study of estrogen-responsive tissues and hormone concentrations in infants fed soy formula
This study in Philadelphia compared estrogen-responsive postnatal development in infants exclusively fed soy formula, cow-milk formula, and breast milk. Researchers found that relative to girls fed cow-milk formula, those fed soy formula demonstrated tissue- and organ-level developmental trajectories consistent with response to exogenous estrogen exposure. They suggested that further studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of soy on child development.
Adgent, M, & Umbach, D, et al (2018). A longitudinal study of estrogen-responsive tissues and hormone concentrations in infants fed soy formula. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, doi.org/10.1210/jc.2017-02249
Holding infants can affect their genes: Epigenetic correlates of neonatal contact in humans
This study found that children who had had less physical contact and were more distressed as infants had a molecular profile in their cells that was underdeveloped for their age. The effect was detectable four years later, suggesting that touch in infancy has profound effects. The research builds on similar work in rodents, highlighting the importance of tactile contact for biobehavioral outcomes via the modification of DNA methylation (DNAm). Our standards help units to give parents every opportunity to touch and care for their babies, supporting their development and future relationships.
Read more analysis of this study: http://www.med.ubc.ca/holding-infants-or-not-can-leave-traces-on-their-genes/
Effect of breastfeeding promotion interventions on child growth
This review aimed to update a previous systematic review and meta-analysis about the effect of breastfeeding promotion interventions on child growth. The authors found that breastfeeding promotion interventions were not associated with significant changes in weight or length, but led to a modest, albeit significant, reduction in body mass index/weight-for-height z scores.
E.R.J Giugliani et al (2015). Effect of breastfeeding promotion interventions on child growth: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatrica, Special Issue: Impact of Breastfeeding on Maternal and Child Health. Volume 104, Issue Supplement S467, pages 20-29.