Babies who are fed on demand are more likely to have a higher IQ and perform better at school, according to new research.

London - Babies who are fed on demand are more likely to have a higher IQ and perform better at school, according to new research.

The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, suggests that eight-year-olds who were demand-fed as infants had IQs four or five points higher than those fed to a schedule.

Researchers from Essex and Oxford Universities looked at three different types of mothers and babies - babies who were fed to a schedule, for example every four hours when they were four weeks old, those whose mother tried but did not manage to feed to a schedule, and those who were fed on demand.

The data was drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a study of more than 10,000 children born in the Bristol area in the early 1990s.

The findings show that feeding on demand is associated with higher IQ scores at the age of eight, and also better performance in national curriculum tests at ages five, seven, 11 and 14.

This is after taking into account background factors such as a parent's education, family income, the child's sex and age, maternal health and parenting styles. - Belfast Telegraph