Friday, January 10th, 2014
Babies whose parents feed them with a spoon may be more likely to become overweight and have a hard time identifying what being “full” feels like, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity. The findings support the technique known as “baby-led weaning,” in which babies are encouraged to feed themselves from a range of food choices. More from The Telegraph:
Scientists believe babies allowed to feed themselves during weaning are less likely to overeat and be overweight as toddlers.
Their study also revealed that spoon-fed children are more likely to be “fussy-eaters” than those left to their own device.
Dr Amy Brown, from Swansea University, said parents who spoon fed their children pureed foods created harmful eating habits which lead to childhood obesity.
She said: “Our study indicates that taking a baby-led approach to weaning may reduce a baby’s risk of being overweight as they are in control of their food intake.
“This results in the baby being better able to control his or her appetite which could have a long-term impact upon weight gain and eating style that may continue into childhood.
“There is increasing recognition of the role of feeding style during infancy upon how a child’s appetite and eating style develops.
“Allowing the child to regulate their own appetite and not pressurising them to eat more than they need is a really important step in encouraging children to develop healthy eating patterns for life.”
Find tasty finger food recipes your tot will love here.
Image: Baby eating, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
A new study raises interesting questions about how parents introduce babies to solid food.
It suggests babies might get health benefits from skipping spoon-fed purées, and going straight to feeding themselves with finger foods.
Published by the British Medical Journal, this small study looked at the eating habits of 155 British children as they moved away from breast milk or formula to solid food. Parents were asked if the children fed themselves, if they were picky eaters, and about their height and weight. The spoon-fed and self-fed babies were equally likely to be picky, researchers said. But they found that the two groups preferred different types of food.
The Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail reports that self-fed babies showed a preference for carbohydrates such as pasta, breads and rice, while spoon-fed babies preferred sweets such as cookies. From the Globe and Mail:
Ellen Townsend, associate professor of psychology and one of the authors of the study, said carbohydrates may be more attractive to children who fed themselves because such foods tend to be easy to hold and to chew. Furthermore, they may be more accustomed to a range of healthy, nutritious foods that are intact, instead of masked as purées, which could influence their preferences.
Although the researchers found the majority of children in both groups had a healthy, normal body mass index, a small number of children in the baby-led group were underweight. By contrast, however, Dr. Townsend said a greater number of children in the spoon-fed group were overweight, which could be linked to parents overestimating how much to feed their infants.
“In baby-led weaning, you’re essentially handing over control of the feeding process to your child. You’re letting them decide when they’re full,” she says, whereas with spoon-feeding, “perhaps there’s a temptation to give the child one or two more spoons more than they actually want.”
What about the risk of choking for babies who feed themselves? The researchers found that among the “finger-food” babies, 93.5 percent never had a choking episode.
Image: Baby girl eating via Shutterstock.
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