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Spoonfeeding is associated with increased infant weight but only amongst formula‐fed infants
Maternal and Child Nutrition, Volume: 16, Issue: 3
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Infant feeding experiences are important for the development of healthy weight gain trajectories. Evidence surrounding milk feeding and timing of introduction to solids is extensive; however, the impact of the method of introducing solids on infant growth has been relatively underexplored. Baby-led...
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Infant feeding experiences are important for the development of healthy weight gain trajectories. Evidence surrounding milk feeding and timing of introduction to solids is extensive; however, the impact of the method of introducing solids on infant growth has been relatively underexplored. Baby-led weaning (where infants self-feed family foods) is proposed to improve appetite regulation, leading to healthier weight gain and a reduced risk of obesity. However, the evidence is mixed and has methodological inconsistencies. Furthermore, despite milk being a large part of the infant diet during the period infants are introduced to solid foods, its influence and interaction with introductory style have not been considered. The aim of this study was to explore growth among infants aged 3–12 months according to both style of introduction to solid foods and milk feeding; 269 infants were weighed and measured, and body mass index (BMI) computed. The results showed that overall, infants who were spoon-fed (compared with self-fed) at introduction to complementary feeding (CF) had greater length (but not weight or BMI). However, when milk feeding was accounted for, we found that infants who were both spoon-fed and fully formula fed had greater weight compared with spoon-fed, breastfed infants. There was no significant difference in weight among self-fed infants who were breastfed or formula fed. The results highlight the importance of considering infant feeding as a multicomponent experience in relation to growth, combining both milk feeding and method of CF. This relationship may be explained by differences in maternal feeding style or diet consumed.
breastfeeding, complementary feeding, formula milk, infant length, infant weight, solid foods, baby-led weaning
College of Human and Health Sciences