Toddlers Need to Put Down the Bottle (Or Get Fat)

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Those concerned about Suri Cruise and her bottle should have a new concern beyond toddler neglect (or whatever horrible accusations the tabloids are making toward the Cruises). In fact, the real danger is the likelihood that Suri -- and other children who take bottles of milk after 1 -- is 30 percent more likely to be obese by her fifth birthday.

After the age of 1, a toddler who is put down to sleep with a full bottle is consuming almost 12 percent of her daily caloric needs from that one bottle. If she has a few more a day, you can see where it starts to add up.

Dr Robert Whitaker from Temple University told the Daily Guardian:

Children who were still using a bottle at 24 months were approximately 30 percent more likely to be obese at 5.5 years, even after accounting for other factors such as mother’s weight, the child’s birth weight, and feeding practices during infancy.

The solution, according to this study, is to wean children off milk at 1. One? Really? It's true, the article says it plainly. Read for yourself: "They state that children should be weaned off milk from the age of one, with the help of doctors."

This is completely the opposite advice my pediatrician gave us when we saw her last month for my daughter's 4-year check up. My daughter hates milk and won't drink it (even chocolate) and our doctor was none too thrilled to hear it, telling us she needs the vitamin D and calcium that milk affords.

The funny thing is my daughter was all about milk until about 2.5 when we finally took the bottle away from her. After that, she was done. Unless it was in a bottle, she had no interest. My son, on the other hand, is currently 2.5 and he takes milk in a sippy cup like nobody's business. But I am also pretty sure he gets all the calories he needs from it since he doesn't seem to be eating anything else!

At any rate, throwing the baby out with the bathwater (or the milk out with the bottle) seems a bit rash after one study. But it does give food for thought. And yes, we ought to be weaning our kids from the bottle earlier than many of us are.

Do you worry about obesity?


Image via katerha/Flickr

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