Depressed mums more likely to overfeed, says study
A study conducted in America has revealed that depressed mothers are more likely to overfeed their babies by adding cereal to their bottled food.
The BELLE Project – Bellevue Project for Early Language, Literacy and Education Success – is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and surveyed 254 mothers.
While 24% of all the participants admitted to adding cereal to their babies’ bottles in order to stave off hunger for longer and help their infants to sleep, the prevalence of doing so was much higher among depressed mothers.
Depressive symptoms in the mothers led to a 15 times higher likelihood of using cereal to encourage babies to sleep for longer, or to wait for longer between feeds.
“Our results are especially concerning because they suggest that depressed mothers may be more likely to add cereal to the bottle, which may increase their children’s risk of obesity,” says lead author on the study Dr Candice Taylor Lucas, a general academic paediatrics fellow and associate professor of paediatrics at New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center.
It was not just mums’ depression that led to the risk of overfeeding, however; mums who said their babies responded intensely to changes in their daily routine were also 12 times more likely to use cereal in bottled feeds.
Dr Lucas suggests that support should be provided to parents in order to encourage healthy feeding and reduce childhood obesity.
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