Is Spoon-Feeding Babies Better Than Baby-Led Weaning?
According to research, babies tend to become overweight when they were spoon-fed purees because their taste buds become used to eating sweets.
In contrast, babies who were trained to eat finger foods by themselves during the weaning stage are less likely to become obese later on.
Basic Information on the Research Study
There were 155 children with ages 20 months to 6.5 years old who were involved in this study. The researchers asked the parents regarding the weaning style and food preferences of their children. Sixty-three of the children were spoon-fed and ninety-two of them were allowed to eat on their own. This latter style is called “baby-led” weaning.
The Result of the Study
After following up on the growth of the children, the gathered results show that the spoon-fed children were typically the ones who grew up and became overweight, while those who fed themselves learned to eat healthier and maintained normal weight while growing up.
Factors that Affected the Results
The researchers noted that no other factors seemed to have affected the children’s weight. So, the results were not due to the child’s birth weight, the parents’ weight, nor the economic status of the family at all. Rather, it was mentioned in the report that the texture and appearance of the finger foods, especially carbohydrates, must have made a significant impact on the results of the study.
The Children’s Food Preferences
Based on observation of the children’s food preferences, those who belong to the baby-led weaning group like to eat carbohydrates, while those in the spoon-fed group like to eat sweet foods. The researchers also added the fact that the spoon-fed babies were more often served carbohydrates, protein, fruits, veggies, and whole meals like lasagna compared to the other children.
Ellen Townsend from the University of Nottingham’s School of Psychology said that the study suggests that when parents use the baby-led weaning style, it helps train the babies to like foods that are considered healthier and more nutritious. This knowledge can play a big role in fighting against the rising incidence of childhood obesity in our modern society.
Photo credits: Baby eating baby food by Ravedave via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.