Do mothers overfeed their babies?

May 11th, 2009 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 11 (IANS) Could a mother’s love lie at the root of the obesity epidemic that rages in many parts of the world? A new study says mothers who miss signs of satiety in their infants tend to overfeed them, contributing to excess weight gains during the six to 12 month period.
Ninety-six low-income black and Hispanic mothers, who chose to formula feed exclusively, were enrolled in the study by Rutgers University nutritional scientists. Data was collected during an initial interview and three home visits at three, six and 12 months.

During home visits, feedings were observed, the mothers were interviewed, and the child’s weight was measured. Feeding diaries were also checked for omissions or clarifications.

A number of characteristics that predicted infant weight gain from birth to three months were included in the analysis. These were birth weight, gender, race/ethnicity, maternal age, education, country of origin, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, and weight gain during pregnancy, said a Rutgers release.

However, the researchers warned that “feeding an infant is a primal behaviour, and to suggest to a new mother that she is feeding her infant too often, too much, or worse yet, is not very good at reading her infant’s signals, would require an extremely skilled nurse or social worker”.

The study was published in the May/June issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour.

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