Maternal control of child feeding during the weaning period: differences between mothers following a baby-led or standard weaning approach

Matern Child Health J. 2011 Nov;15(8):1265-71. doi: 10.1007/s10995-010-0678-4.


A controlling maternal feeding style has been shown to have a negative impact on child eating style and weight in children over the age of 12 months. The current study explores maternal feeding style during the period of 6-12 months when infants are introduced to complementary foods. Specifically it examines differences between mothers who choose to follow a traditional weaning approach using spoon feeding and pureés to mothers following a baby-led approach where infants are allowed to self feed foods in their solid form. Seven hundred and two mothers with an infant aged 6-12 months provided information regarding weaning approach alongside completing the Child Feeding Questionnaire. Information regarding infant weight and perceived size was also collected. Mothers following a baby-led feeding style reported significantly lower levels of restriction, pressure to eat, monitoring and concern over child weight compared to mothers following a standard weaning response. No association was seen between weaning style and infant weight or perceived size. A baby-led weaning style was associated with a maternal feeding style which is low in control. This could potentially have a positive impact upon later child weight and eating style. However due to the cross sectional nature of the study it cannot be ascertained whether baby-led weaning encourages a feeding style which is low in control to develop or whether mothers who are low in control choose to follow a baby-led weaning style.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Food
  • Mothers*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Weaning*
  • Young Adult