A new study published in the journal Paediatric Obesity has stated that babies spoon fed by their parents or caretakers are more likely to become obese or overweight as they grow older.
This is because parents or caretakers usually don't have the slightest idea that the baby they are feeding has had enough.
Scientists said babies should be allowed to feed themselves in the weaning period, the time the little children start taking solid foods, with items they can pick with their little fingers.
Babies who were born on New Year's day, lie on a bed inside the maternity ward of the Jose Reyes Memorial hospital in Manila January 1, 2014. At least three babies were born on New Year's day at the Jose Reyes Memorial hospital, according to hospital officials. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Examining the eating habits of 298 babies, the study found infants fed using a baby-led approach were "significantly more" able to stop eating when they felt full.
"Our study indicates that taking a baby-led approach to weaning may reduce a baby's risk of being overweight as they are in control of their food intake," Dr Amy Brown from Swansea University said, noting parents who even offer pureed foods could actually create more harmful eating habits, leading to childhood obesity.
"This results in the baby being better able to control his or her appetite which could have a long-term impact upon weight gain and eating style that may continue into childhood."
She further stressed that allowing the child to regulate their own appetite, "not pressuring" them to eat more than they need, is a really important step in encouraging children to develop healthy eating patterns for life.
Moreover, Ms Brown said spoon-feeding results to picky eaters because of the dearth of choices given to them during mealtimes.
Baby-led babies are offered a range of whole foods which they pick up and eat themselves until they are full.
"All of these may promote appetite regulation and healthy weight gain trajectories."
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