I’ve never joined in the controversy around Marmite people like Gina Ford but the latest large scale research from the Institute for Social & Economic Research at Essex University says it all doesn’t it?
Babies fed on demand, or by Mums who didn’t stick to their schedules, grew up smarter by up to 5 IQ points, than those fed on a strict timetable. And this was regardless of whether the babies were breast-fed or bottle-fed although there was evidence that breast milk helped the babies’ cognitive development.
This boost in intelligence is significant and would move the child up a few places in the classroom rankings.
The downside is for the Mums not the babies. Mums who responded to their babies’ needs felt worse at the time than Mums who fed by timetable.
This latter group did better on measures of well-being, felt more confident and were less likely to feel sad (maybe they felt more in control?)
So the message seems to be don’t worry if you can’t stick to a schedule because it will benefit your baby and the question for those who do like schedules is who benefits?