• Nutrition study focuses on breastfeeding mothers

    By: Kristin Leigh


    KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - There is a study at the University of North Carolina’s Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis that is researching how a mother’s dietary choices while breastfeeding affect her baby's brain development.

    “You're looking at things like, how does she pick up a block with her whole hand, or does she use her thumb and pointer finger?” said Lerin Eason, the study's coordinator.

    The study is led​ by Dr. Carol Cheatham.

    “The moms are asked to eat one egg a day five days a week,” Cheatham said. “That should be plenty to see a difference in their children at six months.”

    It's no coincidence the study is centered around eggs.

    They contain three nutrients scientists said are vital for cognitive function: choline, DHA and lutein.

    “If you want your breast milk to be quality, you need to have quality nutrients going in,” Cheatham said.

    Unfortunately, Cheatham said nursing mothers in the U.S. aren't always focused on their diet, while they're balancing life with a newborn.

    [Breastfeeding laws: Know your rights as a nursing mom in public and at work]

    She hopes studies like this one will change that.

    “The greatest percentage of women don't really consider nutrition,” Cheatham said.

    Half of the women in the study are given powdered eggs with yolks. The others are given powdered egg whites, which don't contain the three nutrients.

    Participants can't tell the difference between the powders.

    More than 80 women have signed up to participate in the study so far.

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