‘Prolonged’ bottle feeding linked with obesity in toddlers

One of the tenets of feeding newborns is that bottle-feeding carries an inherent risk of acclimatizing an infant to easy feedings- babies introduced to both bottle and breast are said to favor the former due to the ease of draining a bottle dry.

A recent study suggests that continuing the bottle may have longer lasting consequences for babies, as the behavior is linked with obesity in older babies, toddlers and into school age. The study, published in the American Journal of Pediatrics, followed nearly 7,000 children born in 2001. What it found is that when other factors were controlled for, a significant portion of kids who refused to give up the bottle were classified as obese by the age of 5:

Temple University’s Dr. Robert Whitaker said, “Children who were still using a bottle at 24 months were approximately 30 percent more likely to be obese at 5 and a half years, even after accounting for other factors such as mother’s weight, the child’s birth weight and feeding practices during infancy.”

The study’s authors believe that extended bottle use encourages infants to consume a higher number of calories than they might if restricted to a sippy cup, and recommend weaning from the bottle at around the child’s first birthday.