Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Further to Dr Ellen Townsend’s statement re BLW in the BMJ. Some more info on carbs and breast-feeding.

I asked for a wee bit further clarification on the breastfeeding rates – HUGE in both instances, if you look at the peer reviews it says ‘nearly all children in the matched sample were breast-fed (92% in the SpoonFed group, 97% in the Baby-Led group). Indeed, in the whole sample 94.8% of the children had been breast fed’. As you can see I asked if this was a bad thing, as it is unusual, or good because it meant that the study compared like with like.

Here is the reply from Dr Townsend.
“The breast feeding issue is interesting and crucial. On the one hand the fact that there was no difference in breastfeeding status in our matched sample (which we based our preference analyses on) is a good thing – because as you acknowledge that means we have homogeneity between the groups. With the BLW group the high rate is understandable as it is such a natural extension of breastfeeding. With the spoon-fed group – we had a sample who were willing to come to the lab to be tested etc – so again probably not entirely representative at a population level. We do now need to do research now that engages more parents who have used formula/bottle feeding. We do say this at the end of the paper …”In particular, a study is needed that includes a greater proportion of children who have been formula/bottle fed in order to compare the relative impacts of weaning method and milk feeding practices on food preferences and health outcomes in early childhood.””

Likewise the carbs thing, what were they using as their definition of carbohydrates?
And here is the answer.

“With regard to the carbohydrates issue. There are a number of ways we could have categorised/classified the foods in our study. We used typical food pyramid categorization where ‘starchy’ carbs are found at the bottom. Yes – sweets are carbs but of the ‘simple’ rather than ‘complex’ variety.”

Any thoughts?

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12 Responses to “Further to Dr Ellen Townsend’s statement re BLW in the BMJ. Some more info on carbs and breast-feeding.”

  1. Ana says:

    My 1 year old boy was bottle fed (I couldn’t breast feed) and goes for bread and pasta every time.

  2. Michele says:

    I’m a big fan of BLW. I couldn’t breast feed and felt like it gave me a chance to do the “natural” & wholesome thing with my child’s nutrition. My daughter at 10 months is a very healthy eater, in the 40th percentile for weight and not picky. She is not afraid to add new things to her palate which makes dinner out, a breeze. Her favorite foods seem to be beans, zucchini, scrambled eggs, rice and strawberries. While it would have been nice to see a few more bottle fed children in the study, I’m glad we’re at least looking at it more seriously, today!

  3. Andrea says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one who wondered about the same issues.
    I thought that the VERY HIGH rate of breastfeeding mothers (I mean, come on, 9 months for the spoon fed group and 23 for the BLW) does skew the results as only a select group of mothers who are probably more informed than most has been chosen.
    Anyway, I asked the same questions and got more or less the same answers.

    I also pointed out that between the spoon-fed group they didn’t differentiate between children fed off a jar, given home made puréed food or mashed food. I feel this could be quite significant as the jars all taste the same (yuk!), while at the other end, spoonfeeding mashed food allows the child to recognize flavours and textures (to some extent); anyway she said that no, they all banged everything together (like in a jar :)

    • Aitch says:

      i take your point re not differentiating between jars and home-made puree, of course, but they do indicate that further research is necessary. I’d take issue with ‘all jars taste yuk’, though, those companies are pretty smart and i’d guess they’d be fairly well-calibrated to appeal to babies rather than parents.

  4. Andrea says:

    No, I don’t quite agree… or rather…
    my inclination (and it IS just a guess) is that jars are made in such a way to maximize dependency (a bit like nappies). Children don’t know anything, so they are being taught that food tastes and feels like that, making it difficult later on in life to make the switch to “proper” food.
    I have tasted the free samples we were given (daughter snubbed them quite happily) and they tasted like… I don’t know … like goo:) However I can imagine there is a country in the world were that goo would be the norm and they would find OUR food disgusting, so giving them THOSE jars we are telling them that goo is the norm; little wonder at times they don’t want to leave it, after all they know nothing else.

    Am I making sense?

  5. Aitch says:

    totally, actually. the one thing that doesn’t make me 100% agree is… the Fruit Shoot. This, in the UK, is sincerely The Most Disgusting Drink you could ever consider putting in your mouth. absolutely REVOLTING. Faaar too sweet, faaaar too strong, nothing at all like the orange or blackcurrant or apple flavours they purport to be and yet… most children love them. even when i’ve pointed out to mine that it’s really not a nice drink they insist it’s nice. (actually, the older one is growing out of them).
    some of that will be accountable by the bottle, which is luridly coloured, and the sports cap, which is more interesting than a cup. but honestly, an adult simply cannot drink that stuff… which makes me think that the company that makes them knows stuff that i don’t.

  6. Andrea says:

    I think the Fruit Shoot (alas I am not acquainted with it) as you describe it makes perfect sense. The target audience (soon to be a “captive audience”) is not the adult, but the child, soon to be an adult who will be drinking that stuff for some time to come.
    Take Irn Bru: I find it utterly revolting. I cannot stand even the smell of it, yet in Scotland it is beverage No. 1 (as an aside I have seen WITH MY OWN EYES children drinking it from a bottle (of the “bottle with a teat” variety)). Obviously the taste buds in Scotland have been trained to that taste from early childhood, while mine haven’t, so I cannot drink it. The same applies to Fruit Shoot, and to the hundreds of fruit-free fruit drinks you find in the supermarket.
    The way I see it, the sooner you get started the more likely it is that you will be with them for a long time.
    This is why I said that jars with baby food that resembles not real food cannot be a coincidence.

  7. Aitch says:

    AH! here you touch upon my own country’s national drink. hate to tell you, i first tasted it at high school and i still think it’s delicious…

  8. Andrea says:

    I rest my case :)

  9. Andrea says:

    Besides, I have not chosen my example totally at random…:D

  10. breastfeeding…

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