SureBaby Blog

Spoon-Feeding Babies May Make Them Overweight, Study Shows

Posted by Alissa Robson

While making airplane noises can be fun for both parents and babies, spoon-feeding may not be the best option when it comes to weaning your child onto solid foods – in fact, it could actually set them up to be overweight in their childhood.

A study out of Nottingham University comparing food preferences and baby weight has found that allowing babies to move to solid foods by using “finger foods” – or foods they can eat themselves – actually led to better self-regulating of food intake and surprisingly, less of a sweet tooth.

The study broke children into two groups and gave them each equal exposure to snack foods. The babies that were spoon-fed seemed to favour sweet tastes when given a choice, possibly due to the fact that many pureed baby foods have a sweet taste. The self-feeders tended toward healthier options like toast, potatoes or whatever was being served at a normal mealtime.

Of the groups, none of the 63 self-feeders were obese in toddler-hood, while 8 of the spoon-feeders were.

Another factor leading to the results may be that spoon-feeding encourages game play with another person during mealtime (ie. the airplane technique), which could lead to a baby continuing to eat only out of an urge to continue to play. In self-feeding the entertainment is independent and is more of a curiosity with a self-satisfying reward at the end.

While this study was small and is one of the first to explore relationships with food in babyhood, it is certainly food for thought (pardon the pun). It has the potential to change the way babies and parents deal with mealtime and with food, and could lead to healthier eating for both groups.

At SureBaby, we want to hear your take on solid-food introduction – were your children finger-foodies or spoon-feeders? Do you believe one method is better than the other?

Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.