Researchers from Brisbane, Australia’s Queensland University Technology reveal that when it comes to feeding, babies have a sense of how much food they need and know to stop eating when they are already full. The act of feeding babies on a schedule may actually supersede this instinct and cause unhealthy weight gain with age.
300 babies and their mothers were studied until the babies turned 2 years old. The researchers queried the participating moms on their parenting and feeding styles.
Says Professor Lynne Daniels, “Babies have an innate capacity to regulate their intake. We are advising mothers to trust their baby. The mothers provide the nutrition and the baby decides how much it wants to eat.”
The results showed that the babies who were fed on demand weighed less than babies fed on a schedule.
Adds Daniels, “The mother should respond to the child’s cues of hunger instead of over-riding them.”
What are babies’ hunger cues? Here are some: • Squirming • Increased alertness or activity • Snuggling • Rooting at the breast • Clenching fists by face • Moving head from side to side • Opening their mouths • Sticking out their tongues
Daniels further says that “…if a mother feeds on schedule, she decides whether or not he is hungry and is more likely to make the child finish the bottle,” even when the baby may be already full.
Sources: • May 30, 2011. Silky Chandvani. “Feeding babies on demand may help prevent obesity” TheMedGuru.com • “Can Feeding Babies on Demand Prevent Obesity Later in Life?” DrDolgoff.com • May 31, 2011. Lisa Arneill. “Study: Feeding Your Baby ‘on demand’ Leads to Healthier Eating Later. GrowingYourBaby.com