Latest Breastfeeding News Is Good for Formula Feeders Too

Add this to the list of things to deep fry your nerves, moms: The food choices you make for your infant, both in quality and method of delivery, may affect his dietary choices at age 6.

No pressure, really. 

According to a series of studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control and published in the journal Pediatrics, infant feeding patterns affect kids' dietary choices longer than anticipated. Children who breastfeed for longer periods tend to eat healthier at age 6. But there's something formula moms can do to give their kids a healthy edge, too. 

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Researchers found that children whose parents introduced them to healthy foods between 6 months and 12 months ate better later on in life. They tracked the diets of about 1,500 6-year-olds, comparing their eating habits to those observed in a study that followed them until they turned 1.

Basically, when infants ate lots of fruits and vegetables, they still ate lots of them at age 6. If they were introduced to sugary drinks in infancy, their taste for them continued at age 6. Food preferences start really early.

While breastfeeding has an added benefit when it comes to developing healthy eating patterns because it naturally exposes infants to a variety of flavors, the foods all moms introduce their kids to during infancy make a big difference.

The researchers suggest introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables by late infancy -- between 10 to 12 months old. It's important to keep trying as babies transition to table food. Sometimes it takes many attempts before a child develops a taste for a particular fruit or vegetable, but they usually will if you're persistent.

More from The Stir: 7 Signs Your Baby Is Ready for Solid Food

Contrary to popular belief, kids are not born with an overwhelming disdain for vegetables or desire for chicken nuggets. It's more of a learned behavior that moms can influence ... if we start early. 

Do you think the foods you gave your baby informed his or her palate?

 

Image via © Radius Images/Corbis

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