Early Intervention Improves Infant Feeding Practices

baby eatingPoor infant feeding practices are one of the leading contributors to early onset of childhood obesity.  There is mounting evidence supporting the conclusion that breastfeeding is protective against childhood obesity. At the Obesity 2011 national meeting, new research was presented assessing the effectiveness of a home-based early intervention on infant feeding practices for infants in the first year of life. The intervention took place in socially and economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney and consisted of 667 first-time mothers and their infants. The intervention consisted of five to six home visits from a specially trained nurse delivering a home-based intervention at 1, 3, 5, 9 and 12 months postpartum. The study found that early intervention delivered by the trained community nurses significantly improved some infant feeding practices.

Dr. Alana Chock, expert bariatric surgeon at the Northwest Weight Loss Surgery, explained that breastfeeding is beneficial for both moms and babies. She said: “Breastfeeding has been an issue that has been debated for quite some time, but now we are seeing data that supports breast feeding for at least 6 months. Doing this will decrease the risk that babies born to diabetic mothers will become obese later in life. In addition, women with gestational diabetes will lower their risk of getting diabetes down the road simply by breast feeding. It is a win-win for both mom and baby.”

Breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and several other health organizations. However, a 2011 report found that only 13.3 percent of mothers in the United States are breastfeeding exclusively for even the first six months. You can read more about the importance of breastfeeding here.

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