Babies become fatter when spoon-fed

Parents who choose to spoon feed their babies may find their little ones grow fatter as a result. New research from Nottingham University has shown that weaning infants on pureed food, such as mashed up fruits and vegetables, can give them a sweeter tooth than if their first experience of eating relates to finger food.

According to the investigation, toddlers who are raised on solid foodstuffs are more likely to develop healthier eating habits and therefore less prone to becoming overweight as they grow up.

Published by BMJ Open, the report showed babies who have the opportunity to feed themselves often prefer satiating carbohydrates - such as toast - as a consequence.

Co-author of the study Dr Nicola Pitchford said: "Baby-led weaning has a positive impact on the liking of foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates."

She added this way of feeding serves to promote healthy meal choices in early years that could prevent obesity in later life.

Dr Ellen Townsend, who led the reseach, said: "We found a large, robust effect between groups - baby-led versus spoon-fed - in parental reporting of their child’s liking for carbohydrates.

"The baby-led group liked these foods significantly more than the spoon-fed group - even when a Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons was applied."

Dr Gillian Greville-Harris, a Chartered Psychologist, said: “This is a timely paper given the current recommendations that baby-led weaning is often advocated by NHS health workers as the optimal weaning strategy.

You can read more about this research on the BBC website.