A randomized clinical trial published by JAMA Pediatrics examined whether allowing infants to control their food intake by feeding themselves solid foods, instead of traditional spoon-feeding, would reduce the risk of overweight or impact other secondary outcomes up to age 2.
The study by Rachael W. Taylor, Ph.D., and Anne-Louise M. Heath, Ph.D., of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and coauthors included 206 women, with 105 of them assigned to an intervention that included support from a lactation consultant to extend exclusive breastfeeding and delay the introduction of complementary foods until 6 months of age, when the infants were considered developmentally ready to self-feed.
"A baby-led approach to complementary feeding does not appear to improve energy self-regulation or body weight when compared with more traditional feeding practices, although some benefits may accrue in attitudes to food, including reduced food fussiness," the article concludes.
The authors noted some study limitations, including a small sample that was relatively socioeconomically advantaged so the results may not apply to those infants with lower socioeconomic status.
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Related material: The editorial, "Baby-Led Weaning - Safe and Effective but Not Preventive of Obesity," by Rajalakshmi Lakshman, Ph.D., M.R.C., of the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, England, also is available on the For The Media website.
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