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Quicker Infant Growth Tied to Higher IQ Later

But difference in scores was fairly small in study of full-term babies

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"It's clear, though, that brain growth equals [thinking ability] growth, and it's interesting to see that really early brain growth correlates to intelligence at 6 years," she said. "It shows that it's important that early feeding difficulties shouldn't linger."

Thornton said women who are having breast-feeding trouble should seek help sooner rather than later. "Breast milk is God's perfect food, but this study suggests that it's better to get nutrition early," Thornton said.

Both Thornton and Smithers said this study's findings don't suggest that parents should overfeed their babies.

"Babies should never be forced to eat," Smithers said. "Babies should be fed on demand. Overfeeding may raise other problems over the longer term, as there is some evidence to suggest that more rapid growth in infancy is linked to poorer health outcomes, such as obesity and high blood pressure. Our study draws attention to the importance of balance."

Thornton agreed. "Make sure the baby is getting enough food for optimal growth, but don't overfeed to try to make the baby smarter," she said.

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