​Breastfeeding mums on a high sugar diet may impact developmental outcomes of their offspring during infancy.

That's according to new research by Michael I. Goran, PhD, Program Director for Diabetes and Obesity at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

His previous research has shown that mums who consume sugary beverages and juices in the months after giving birth are at risk for weight gain, and may also expose their newborns to these added sugars through breast milk. A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that consuming these beverages during the breastfeeding period may also lead to poorer cognitive development in children nearly two years later.

The participants were 88 mothers who reported sugary beverages and juices consumed per day during the first month of breastfeeding.

Their children were assessed using the Bayley-III Scales of Infant Development at two years old.

Mums who reported greater consumption of sugary beverages and juices had children with poorer cognitive development scores.

The researchers speculated that added sugar from the mom's diet was passed to their infant through breast milk, and this exposure could conceivably interfere with brain development.

Dr. Goran said: 'Breastfeeding can have so many benefits but we're seeing that breast milk is influenced by what moms eat and drink even more than we realised.'

He says that limiting added sugars, found in beverages such as soft drinks, may have benefits not only for mums, but also for babies.

'Mums may not realise that what they eat and drink during breastfeeding may influence their infant's development down the road, but that's what our results indicate.'

Paige K. Berger, PhD, RD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow and first author of the study, added: 'Ultimately, we want babies to receive the best quality nutrition. Our findings may be used to guide future nutrition recommendations for moms during breastfeeding, to better ensure that babies are getting the right building blocks for cognitive development.'