Babies who are fed on demand fare better at school and have higher IQs, scientists at the universities of Oxford and Essex have said.

They found that eight-year-olds who were fed on demand as babies had four-five more IQ points than those who were fed to a routine.

The scientists look at data on more than 10,000 children born in the early 90s. They found a close link between on demand feeding and higher IQs, as well as improved scores in exams at ages five, seven, 11 and 14. The results considered other factors, such as parental education, income and lifestyle.

The results were the same regardless of whether the baby was bottle or breast fed.

Dr Maria Iacovou, from Essex University's Institute for Social and Economic Research, said: "The difference between schedule and demand-fed children is found both in breastfed and in bottle-fed babies.

"The difference in IQ levels of around four to five points, though statistically highly significant, would not make a child at the bottom of the class move to the top, but it would be noticeable."

Posted by Robert Mair on 19/3/2012