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Let Your Baby Do the Dishing, It Will Pay Off

Cake Face
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Babies need a lot of our love, support and help as they grow and learn new things. But often, it's better to let them learn on their own. For instance, many people recommend letting them cry themselves to sleep rather than rocking them to bed. It's tough to do, but it's for the best.

Now, scientists have found that having babies feed themselves could be beneficial, too.

We've all been there: We've made airplane or choo-choo train sounds to try and make that spoonful of carrot mush seem appealing. Sure, sometimes it works, but often that mush goes in and comes right back out. It's messy during mealtime. Then again, we can't imagine what the kitchen would look like if we put our babies in charge. Yet, that's just what researchers at Swansea University are suggesting we do!

According to new research, spoon-feeding promotes overeating; your baby doesn't have control of how much he wants to eat (the same has been found in babies who are bottle-fed rather than breast-fed). However, those who self-feed were less likely to overeat.

The research seems to prove that the habits that the children started out with became ingrained. The babies who were spoon-fed ultimately carried that habit of overeating beyond the highchair. The babies who were able to control their own intake were less fussy eaters and less likely to be overweight.

Want to give it a try at home? Instead of feeding your child, set out a few food items. The baby has the choice to pick and try all of them or just the item she'd like to consume. When she's full, she'll stop eating. All we can say? Prepare for the cleanup!

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