A new study by psychologists at The University of Nottingham has suggested that weaning babies on solid finger foods rather than spoon-feeding purees helps them to develop healthier food preferences and could prevent them becoming obese in later childhood. The study implies that the weaning method has an impact on food preferences and health in early childhood.
The study found that baby-led weaning in which the babies are allowed to feed themselves from a selection of foods are more likely to prefer carbohydrates than babies who are spoon-fed. The spoon-fed babies tend to have a sweet tooth even if these children are offered carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, proteins and whole meals. Early self-regulation of what to eat keeps the self-fed babies slim.
The authors said, "Our results suggest that infants weaned through the baby-led approach learn to regulate their food intake in a manner which leads to a lower BMI (body mass index) and a preference for healthy foods like carbohydrates. This has implications for combating the well-documented rise of obesity in contemporary societies."
The study is published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).