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Finger Food may be Better Choice than Pureed Food for Weaning Baby

The secret to your child’s healthy diet may very well be developed as early as his 20th month of life.

baby eatingAccording to a recent study by the online medical journal BMJ Open, baby-led weaning, or letting baby wean himself off milk, may actually help him learn to make healthier food choices as he transitions to solid foods.

How does it work? It basically involves letting baby feed himself with cut-up bits of solid finger foods, rather than the conventional spoon feeding by the parent.

The study covered 155 children between the ages of 20 months and 6 years old. Parents had to accomplish questionnaires asking about how they would feed their children, the kids’ food preferences, as well as their height and weight.

Results showed that 92 of these children were weaned on finger foods, while 63 were weaned on spoon-fed purees. Those who were weaned on finger foods ended up preferring carbohydrates over sweets, and those who were spoon-fed ended up liking sweets more, resulting in a higher likelihood to be obese or overweight. The preference for carbs may be attributed to the “ease of chewing, pleasing presentation, and texture of foods such as toast,” say the researchers.

In addition, the authors note that:

“Our study suggests that baby-led weaning has a positive impact on the liking for foods that form the building blocks of healthy nutrition, such as carbohydrates.”

“Baby-led weaning promotes healthy food preferences in early childhood, which may protect against obesity.”

BMJ Open states, “This early self-regulation of what to eat keeps them slim.” Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, adds that babies might actually inherently know what foods are best for them.

The authors also caution though that baby-led weaning does not necessarily translate to the elimination of fussy eating, or picky eating.

You may also want to read:

5 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater Yaya

9 Ways to Improve your Picky Child’s Eating Habits

Stop Food Fight! 8 Tips to Deal with Your Preschooler’s Picky Eating

Got Picky Eaters? Plate Color Affects the Taste of Food, says Study

Would you consider baby-led weaning for your child? Why or why not? We’d love to know. Share with us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Sources:

February 7, 2012. Michelle Roberts. “Spoon feeding ‘makes babies fatter’” bbc.co.uk

February 7, 2012. Nancy Walsh. “Baby’s First Foods Should Be Finger Foods” medpagetoday.com

February 10, 2012. Sora Song. “Skip the Strained Peas. Let Babies Feed Themselves” healthland.time.com

Ellen Townsend. Nicola J Pitchford “Baby knows best? The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in early childhood in a case–controlled sample” bmjopen.bmj.com

Photo by avlxyz via flickr creative commons

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