Early Feeding

There is no consistent evidence that breast feeding protects children from later obesity. Any associations between breast feeding and a low prevalence of obesity may simply indicate that both obesity and a low prevalence of breast feeding are common in socioeconomically deprived communities. Furthermore, breast feeding is not a passive process but one that involves maternal emotions and close mother-child contact. The process of feeding and recognizing readiness to feed may teach a mother subtle subconscious understanding of her child's needs. Thus, the process of breast feeding may have positive influences on mothers' attitudes to child nurture—attitudes that are less readily acquired through formula feeding. Likewise, studies of early weaning, although occasionally showing evidence of an association with later obesity, are certainly not consistent in finding relationships between weaning practices and later overweight. Early feeding studies can never be double-blind controlled, and differences may only reflect common aspects of nurture rather than specific effects of a particular infant feeding procedure.

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