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Exclusive breast milk optimizes children's development: a systematic literature review

  • Luh Mertasari ,
  • Anak Agung Ngurah Jaya Kusuma ,
  • Luh Seri Ani ,


Background: Exclusive breastfeeding is the gold standard for child nutrition recommended by WHO and UNICEF. Exclusive breastfeeding is very beneficial for child development, and it is proven that exclusively breastfed babies experience different developmental accelerations. Many studies have been conducted on the developmental benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, but the results are inconsistent, and some even report no effect. This paper presents a systematic review of the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and child development in terms of duration and the aspects of development affected.

Method: A search method with a systematic literature review of relevant articles was performed in four databases, Pubmed, Science Direct, Sefforra, Publish or Perish and Research Gates. The search was performed using words from the text in a variety of combinations related to the developmental benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. The main search terms were ((Exclusive breastfeeding*) (Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding), (Breastfeeding*AND Growth), (Breastfeeding AND growth) development) (benefits of exclusive breastfeeding)). From April to June 2023. Observational studies (cross-sectional and follow-up studies) written in English have investigated the relationship between breastfeeding and child development. Systematic reviews follow the preferred reporting category for systematic reviews. Assess study quality with the Critical Assessment Checklist for Cross-sectional Studies and the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Rating Scale for longitudinal studies. Fifteen articles were selected for analysis based on the number of priority reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA).

Result. The results of the analysis confirmed the positive effects of breastfeeding on the development of IQ, neuro-brain, language, hearing, vision, behavior and social-emotional, including exclusive breastfeeding for at least three months.

Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding for a minimum of three months can optimize several aspects of a child's development. This study suggests increased coverage of exclusive breastfeeding in infants.



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How to Cite

Luh Mertasari, Anak Agung Ngurah Jaya Kusuma, & Luh Seri Ani. (2023). Exclusive breast milk optimizes children’s development: a systematic literature review. Indonesia Journal of Biomedical Science, 17(2), 147–152.




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