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Monday 24th October 2016

Spoon feeding babies makes them 'fatter'

7th February 2012

A study has said that babies who are fed pureed foods by spoon tend to be heavier than babies who are allowed to feed themselves.


The research, carried out at Nottingham University, showed that babies who were weaned with pureed fruits and vegetables tended to have a sweet tooth.

However, babies who were allowed to feed themselves on foods such as toast tended to choose carbohydrates when they were older.

The research looked at 155 children ranging in age from 20 months to six years and their parents filled out questionnaires about their dietary habits.

They found that although both spoon fed and solid fed babies were generally a normal weight, babies who were fed by spoon had a higher likelihood of being obese. 

The study's lead, Dr Ellen Townsend, said "baby led weaning" - where a baby is given a selection of foods so it can feed itself - offered them a good platform for healthy eating when they were older.

Dr Townsend said: "It could be an age of introduction effect that we are seeing. Carbohydrates are ideal finger foods. But self-control of feeding may also be a factor."

"You are handing over control and letting the baby decide how much they want to eat. With spoon feeding there is the temptation to get into them whatever is left in the bowl or the jar."

Dr Colin Michie, Chair of the Nutrition Committee at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "The findings are particularly valuable and interesting as they suggest that altering weaning patterns can have a direct impact on a child's food selection when they get older." 


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