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Bottle Feeding Toddlers More Likely to Be Obese

weaning from baby bottles

Extended bottle feeding linked to weight?

Today in the Journal of Pediatrics, scientists report that children who are regularly using a bottle at age two are more likely to be obese when they’re preparing for kindergarten.

The study used data on 6,750 U.S. babies born in 2001. They found that those who were still using a bottle at age two were 33 percent more likely to be obese at age five and a half — after adjusting for breast/formula, mom’s body weight, family income, TV time, birth weight and more.

Pediatricians generally recommend weaning from a bottle at 12 months, but according to this research, many parents don’t adhere to that advice.

Here’s the percentage of toddlers still be bottle fed at age two, and why some experts think they could be gaining more weight:

The researchers found that in the U.S. families interviewed, one in four toddlers was a regular bottle user at 24 months.

Why would extended bottle feeding = chubbiness? Toddlers using bottles might be noshing for comfort and not nourishment, so they’re getting more than their bodies really need. Especially if a child goes to bed with a bottle of whole milk after a full day of eating — those calories are likely to be extra.

For the researchers to consider a child “bottle feeding at age two” the child had to be primarily fed milk in a bottle (as oppose to breast, sippy cup or regular cup), or they had to be put to bed with a bottle. 25 percent met that qualification.

I’m surprised at how many toddlers are regularly bottle fed — my little guy still had a night time bottle with books till he was two (the rest of the time, sippy or regular cup) and it felt a little funny since he clearly didn’t need it.

If you used bottles, what age did your baby or toddler stop? How did you decide on the right time?

Image: flickr

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