Friday, 10 January 2014

Spoon-fed babies "more likely to be obese" or are they?

The study on Spoon-fed babies and the link to obesity which was released earlier this week has really annoyed me. It, in my opinion, is nothing but a load of rubbish. Surely it is what you feed your child, not how that will equate to unhealthy eating habits and obesity? There is a little thing called nutritional content which includes fat levels, sugar and salt content, calories and so on that is a bit more important when it comes to feeding your child. Fast food, convience meals and giant  portion sizes are mostly the root cause of obesity.

The study claims that baby led weaning is a better approach to feeding your baby and will promote better eating habits enabling your baby to recognise when full and stop eating. I did baby led weaning with my first child and I'll be the first to admit that I found it fantastic, he loved it as did we. My intention was to do blw again with the twins but as they were premature, and Zoey in particular was very little (under 0.25 percentile), blw is not suitable. She needs to put on weight consistently and the view that "food is fun for the first year" is not a safe option which is why I am doing combination feeding. The twins get purees and finger food at each meal and they are loving it.

Reading this study it would suggest that a spoon-fed baby is like a little piggy that you can keep shovelling food into which is so wrong. Just because you choose to feed you baby steamed vegetables, meat or fruit that has been puréed or mashed does not for a second mean that they will consume everything you offer them on a spoon until they are fit to burst. My experience is that they will most definitely stop when they have enough which is usually signalled by pursing their lips and turning away. They will develop likes and dislikes to different tastes and textures, I see that day in, day out with my eight month old twins who clearly have different favourites even when it comes to yoghurt varieties just like they do with the finger foods I feed them blw style. 

I find studies like this recent one so misleading, using common sense and feeding you baby healthy foods in whatever form that suits you, your child and family surely is the key to establishing a heathy approach to food. Spoon feeding your baby a bowl full of puréed sweet potato and broccoli or similar is not going to damage your child. Letting them tuck into unhealthy finger food could however. As parents it's nutritional quality, content and quantity we need to look at not beat ourselves up over our chosen approach. 


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