I realize that title makes it sound like the study let babies forage for food and fend for themselves.
Don't worry-- it wasn't that extreme.
It looked at babies that were spoon-fed versus babies that had finger foods placed in front of them and were allowed to feed themselves at their own pace.
Both groups of babies had equal exposure to snack foods, but the surprising results found that babies who fed themselved preferred carbohydrates like bread, pasta, etc, while babies who were spoon-fed were found to prefer sweets.
Additionally, babies who were spoon-fed were more likely to be obese as toddlers, suggesting that the babies who were fed by an adult tended to overeat.
That makes sense-- how many times have you tried to get your baby to eat "just one more bite", even when he has refused?
Whereas the babies who fed themselves had some control over how much and how fast they ate.
Although the study was small (63 babies in each group, with 126 total), it sheds light on the food choices of babies, and that perhaps letting your baby choose what and how much he eats (assuming he is presented with nutritious choices) isn't such a bad idea after all.
Researchers are interested in conducting more studies like this one, and seeing how/if breastfeeding and picky eating might come into play with food choices.
I'll be interested to see what they find! Can you imagine a world where babies all fed themselves, with nary a flying airplane spoon to be heard or seen?
In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more, you can read the full article here.
We've also got some great baby food recipes that your little one will love to get his hands on. After all, if he's going to be feeding himself from now on, might as well make it as nutritious as you can!
What do you think? Are babies better off feeding themselves and deciding when they are done? Or will you continue to spoon feed your child despite what this study found?