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The role of complementary feeding methods on early eating behaviors and food neophobia in toddlers

Watson, S., Constantini, C. and Clegg, M. E. (2020) The role of complementary feeding methods on early eating behaviors and food neophobia in toddlers. Child care in practice, 26 (1). pp. 94-106. ISSN 1476-489X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1516625


Background: Feeding methods used during infancy may impact upon eating behaviors in toddlers and influence the likelihood of developing weight issues. The aim of this study was to compare eating behaviors and food neophobia (defined as the reluctance to eat, or the avoidance of, new foods) in toddlers between three different complementary feeding (CF) groups; spoon-feeding (SF), baby-led weaning (BLW), and mixed method (MM). The study also aimed to investigate changes in early feeding practices and sociodemographic factors in relation to eating behaviors. Methods: One hundred and sixty-two parents with a child aged 12–48 months completed a questionnaire through online parenting forums and via Children's Centers. Parents reported their CF method at the point of introduction to complementary foods, the child's age when this occurred and the feeding method at one year along with breastfeeding duration. Toddler eating behaviors were measured using the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire and the Child Food Neophobia Scale. The questionnaire also examined sociodemographic measures. Results: No significant differences were found in any measured eating behaviors or neophobia between CF groups. There were significant differences in breastfeeding duration, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, timing of CF, gestational age and weight at birth between CF groups. CF method changed at one year such that more people moved to a MM approach of feeding. Conclusions: CF method does not appear to influence toddler neophobia, and relationships between breastfeeding and BLW and later introduction of CF are further confirmed. Furthermore, it appears that individuals that do not undertake BLW at the onset of CF are rarely undertaking it at one year. This research implies that early CF methods do not influence eating habits during toddlerhood. Further work is required to educate parents on the benefits of progressing infants to complementary food by one year.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Human Nutrition Research Group
ID Code:81973
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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