Aim: Breastfeeding may reduce childhood risk of overweight. One explanation for this is that the baby-led nature of breastfeeding promotes appetite regulation as the infant has increased control of the amount consumed. However, the relationship between breastfeeding and later child eating style is largely unexplored. The aim of this study was to examine the association between infant milk feeding and later child appetite responsiveness.
Methods: Two hundred and ninety-eight mothers reported breastfeeding duration and exclusivity up to 6 months post-partum when their infant was aged 6-12 months old. In phase 2, mothers completed the satiety responsiveness and food responsiveness scales of the child eating behaviour questionnaire and the child feeding questionnaire. Infant's birth and current weight were collected.
Findings: Infants who were breastfed for a longer duration were rated as more satiety responsive (P = 0.001), although no difference was seen for feeding method at birth. Compared to infants who were formula fed from birth, at least 6 weeks of breastfeeding was required for increased satiety responsiveness to emerge. This relationship was independent of the current maternal child feeding style. Food responsivity was unrelated to any breastfeeding behaviour.
Conclusions: Breastfeeding may promote satiety responsiveness potentially through the baby-led nature of feeding.
© 2012 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity.