Spoon-feeding makes babies fatter

What are we to make of the latest research from Nottingham University that spoon-feeding babies can lead to obesity? The idea seems to be that if you let babies grab hold of solid items like toast – rather than shovelling purées into their mouths – they are less likely to get fat.

I am, as you can imagine, all in favour of anything that teaches early lessons in self-discipline. But there is another important issue here that the national press seems to have entirely overlooked.

If you allow babies free rein to do what they like at mealtimes, there can be only one possible result. Chaos.

It is not pleasant to have to sponge down the whole kitchen because your infant has decided to experiment with the glue-like properties of ripe banana thrown at full tilt from a highchair. Even the more solid foodstuffs like celery and oatmeal biscuits can become a health hazard when allowed to decompose in a clandestine fashion under a table leg.

 (I have never quite forgotten those hours with dilute bleach after Berta decided to let Robin have a ‘hands-on’ experience with raspberry yoghurt.)

 In my opinion, independent eating is only ever advisable when all available surfaces have been covered in plastic sheeting and you yourself are wearing protective clothing.

 This is the trouble with ‘research’. It is so rarely practical.

(photo Clare Bloomfield)


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