Researches have been working to understand how breastfeeding is linked to helping prevent obesity in infants and children. It’s also believed that breastfeeding contributes to healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight throughout childhood and early adulthood.
This is excellent news for breastfed children. While breastfeeding reduces the chances of childhood obesity, there are steps for parents who aren’t breastfeeding to help their little ones maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
How Breastfeeding Can Help Prevent Obesity
There are multiple studies that have found a correlation linking breastfeeding and reduced obesity. There are a couple of possible reasons for the relationship linking breastfeeding and healthy weight management in children.
1: Gut Bacteria: Breastfeeding is shown to support the growth of the healthy bacteria in a child’s digestive system. The bacteria play a role in your little ones’ metabolism and immune system.
2: Self-regulation: Breastfed babies naturally regulate the amount of breastmilk a breastfeeding woman produces. This also allows them to regulate the amount they eat while they feed. Breastfed children might be learning early on about hunger and fullness cues.
3: A Later Introduction To Solid Food: Shorter breastfeeding durations and the introduction of solid foods before a baby is five months old have been associated with a higher weight at the one-year mark.
Pros & Cons of Breastfeeding
There are pros and cons attached to everything, including raising children. While breastfeeding can help prevent childhood obesity, it’s not the only option; there are other steps that are beneficial for helping your little one grow at a healthy rate.
Studies found that kids at a higher genetic risk for obesity can benefit from exclusive breastfeeding during infancy. It’s believed that exclusively breastfeed a child until they’re five months old can decrease a child’s weight. The effects are diminished significantly if exclusive breastfeed last for three months rather than five or if the baby is fed breastmilk and formula.
When breastfeeding, the baby usually doesn’t overeat. Babies fed on cue often tend to communicate their hunger needs and stop as soon as they’re full.
When bottle-feeding, it’s tempting to encourage the baby to finish the amount of milk’s recommended portion. However, our little ones will cue us that they are full. Remember, the recommended portion is merely a recommendation. Some babies will drink more or less. Never force your baby to drink more when they’ve cued that they’re full. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned that your little one isn’t eating enough.
Does Your Little One Overeat?
Some babies overeat because they’re suckers. Non-nutritive sucking happens with the breast, pacifiers, fingers, and sometimes toes. When your little one has indeed had enough to eat, swap the nipple or bottle out with a pacifier instead.Baby weight fluctuates and varies from baby to the next. Little chubby babies are adorable; however, there is a time to be concerned as childhood obesity is a serious issue many children face today.