Is Overeating Learned in Infancy?

Ignoring baby’s hunger cues may lead to later problems

infant eating

If you tend to overeat, there’s a chance you picked up the habit early on.

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Very early on.

A recent study has found that overeating may be learned in infancy, with formula feeding playing a role.

Bottle feeding and solid food too young may lead to obesity

Brigham Young University researchers analyzed data from more than 8,000 families.

They found that babies predominately formula-fed were two-and-a-half times more likely to become obese toddlers than babies who were breastfed for the first six months.

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The researchers found something else: Putting babies to bed with a bottle increased the risk of obesity by 36 percent, and introducing solid foods too soon — before 4 months of age —increased the risk by 40 percent.

Stop feeding if baby pushes away bottle

Tara Harwood did not take part in the study but is a pediatric registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.

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Ms. Harwood says it comes down to learning your baby’s hunger cues.

 “It starts with babies not being able to control their own hunger cues,” says. Ms. Harwood. “They’re still feeding even though they’re not hungry anymore. That could cause children to continue to overeat when they’re older.”

 “If you’re feeding with the bottle, and the baby is full and starts to push away — stop,” stresses Ms. Harwood. “You don’t have to make the baby finish the bottle.”

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