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