Is spoon feeding babies making them overweight?

New book by leading infant feeding researcher Dr Amy Brown explores how and why spoon fed babies may be more likely to be overweight

Could baby led weaning, where babies self-feed and can regulate their own intake of food, be the key to reducing childhood obesity? In Dr Amy Brown’s new book Why Starting Solids Matters, to be published by Pinter & Martin next month reveals that spoon-fed babies are more likely to be overweight as toddlers than their counterparts who self-feed.

Dr Brown conducted a study of 298 babies exploring two phases. The first phase how they were introduced to solid foods between the ages of six and 12 months while phase two studied the weight and eating behaviour of the same infants between 18 and 24 months. In the baby led group at 18-24 months 8.1% were overweight compared to 19.2% in the spoon fed sample group.

The study results, featured in the book, reveal that those infants weaned using a baby led approach had a better ability to stop eating when full, were less likely to overeat and were therefore less likely to be overweight than their spoon fed peers. They were also less likely to be ‘fussy’ eaters than those who had been weaned using spoon feeding. These results were independent of other factors such as mothers background, birth weight, weaning age and breastfeeding.

Dr Brown says: “The study indicates that taking a baby led approach 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.”

Why Starting Solids Matters by Dr Amy Brown is part of Pinter & Martin’s trusted Why It Matters series of evidence-based, concise parenting guides and is published on 8 June 2017. Drawing on the latest research, Dr Amy Brown tackles everything parents need to know about starting solids. Examining the facts and offering balanced information, Why Starting Solids Matters explores exactly what babies really need to thrive.