Prolonged Bottle Feeding Can Harm Your Child, Says Study

Prolonged Bottle Feeding Can Harm Your Child, Says Study

A recent American study showed that two-year-olds who are still using bottles are more likely to be obese in the near future.

A study of 6,750 American children discovered that toddlers at age two who continue to drink from bottles are more likely to be obese at age 5 compared to those who have been weaned off earlier. 

While researchers are unsure if long-term bottle-feeding is directly to be blamed for obesity in these preschoolers, they believe their findings raise the possibility that weaning a baby around his first birthday could help prevent excessive weight gain.

london weight management

Image source: iStock

According to the research, 1 in 5 children was still using a bottle at the age of 24 months — either at night or all the time.  And of those long-term bottle users, roughly 1 in 5 was obese at the age of 5, versus about 1 in 6 children who’d been weaned earlier. 

The researchers then looked at a number of factors that could affect a child’s risk of obesity — including the mother’s weight, family income and education, and whether the child had ever been breastfed.

They found that prolonged bottle-feeding, itself, was linked to a 33 percent increase in children’s risk of obesity.

Prolonged bottle-feeding does harm

Prolonged Bottle Feeding Can Harm Your Child, Says Study

Prolonged bottle-feeding also does much harm to the child’s dental health development.  Dr Chin Shou King, dental surgeon and director of T32 Junior at Camden Medical Centre, said: ‘ some fall asleep with milk bottles in their mouth.  As milk contain a lot of sugar, this can cause cavities.’

He added: ‘bottle-feeding has similar effects to thumb sucking – it can cause an anterior open bite which is essentially a gap between the upper and lower sets of teeth.’

Agreeing with other paediatricians, he advised parents to wean their toddlers off the milk bottle at around 12-18 months or earlier in order to reduce the adverse effects of bottle-feeding.

Bottles are often a comfort item for these little cherubs therefore you might find it hard to train your young ones off them.  Fret not, as we have compiled 5 of the easiest way for you to do so.

#1 Daytime drama

Why put yourself and your kid through all that stress?  We all know the night feeding is hardest to stop so start your training session in the day.  Use a sippy cup or a straw cup filled with water instead.  Show him that drinking from a cup is fun especially if he uses a straw.  Let him play with it and blow bubbles into the water.  Once he realizes that it’s a new fun adventure that he is starting on, he will begin to ask for his drinks in a cup instead.

#2 Look ma, I’m using a cup too!

Girl drinking from suppy cup

Image source: Shutterstock

Truth is, kids mimic the people around them all the time.  Use this to your advantage.  Always show him that drinking from a cup is how mummy and daddy do it.  When you’re out with him, show him how the other kids are also using cups.  When he sees his peers drinking as such, he would be more motivated to do so.

#3 Baby, meet Shaun the sheep

Most toddlers find it hardest to go to sleep without their bottles.  Some even treat it like a security blanket, tottering around with it in their hands or mouths.  When weaning a child of this sort, try introducing a new comfort toy such as a stuffed animal, a small pillow or a blanket.  At bedtime, play with your kid and the toy to keep him distracted.  He probably will not remember to ask for a bottle.

#4 Incentives and praises

Prolonged Bottle Feeding Can Harm Your Child, Says Study

Keep the praises going.  Every time your child drinks from a cup, pat him on is back and tell him what a good boy he has been.  It is also a good idea to start calling him a big boy and that you’re proud that he is growing up quickly.  You can also reward his behaviour by offering him little treats every time he does good by using a cup.  He would be excited to move on from bottles and eventually get used to it.

#5 Stick to it

Like all good parenting steps, always follow through with your actions.  Giving up halfway will make your child think that it is alright for him to continue drinking from a bottle and that he will get his own way.  So, have faith and stick to your plan of actions once you have started.

Source: MSNBC

Photocredit: Shaun the sheep, Rin Haq

Here are some related articles:

When should baby start drinking from a cup?

10 smart ways to wean your baby from breast milk

Pacifiers: the good, bad, how and when to wean

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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