Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Some infants recognize, respond to social eating cues

03.05.2004


UMHS study suggests some babies more in tune to mom’s behavior at meals



Mealtime is a nightmare, the baby won’t eat what’s on his highchair, and instead he seems to grab for whatever mom and dad have on their plates. For many parents it’s a familiar and frustrating story.

But while parents may describe their baby as a difficult eater or an overeater, it could be just a sign that the child is more tuned in to the eating habits of those around him.


A new study by University of Michigan Health System researchers looked at the eating behaviors of babies who were described by their mothers as difficult eaters or overeaters and compared them to similar children whose mothers did not report problems during meals. Results of the pilot study will be presented May 1 at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in San Francisco.

The difficult eaters and overeaters were more likely to eat when their mother handled their food. And the more mom touched the food, the more likely baby was to feed himself or herself. This same relationship was not found in children who were not difficult eaters or overeaters.

"We know the way human beings eat is not regulated by whether you’re hungry as much as by social cues in the environment: You eat lunch because it’s noon or because you want to take a break or your friends are going out," says study author Julie Lumeng, M.D., clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at U-M Medical School. "This study suggests maybe there are some babies who are much more tied in to those social cues than others. Maybe these kids are much more cued in to how people around them are eating. With the obesity epidemic, that could be significant as these infants grow up."

As part of the Michigan Family Study, a longitudinal study of infant development, families were videotaped in their home during a normal feeding when the infant was 15 months old. Mothers filled out a questionnaire describing their baby’s eating behavior. From this group, the researchers looked specifically at eight children whose mothers had identified them as difficult feeders and eight children whose mothers said they were overeaters. These groups were matched to 16 babies who were not problem eaters. All the babies were growing normally and had no underlying medical problems.

Watching the videotaped feeding, the researchers marked every time the mothers handled the food or fed the babies a bite and every time the babies fed themselves a bite. They also looked at how the babies behaved and ate during fussy moments.

Babies who were difficult eaters or overeaters were more likely to feed themselves after their mother handed them bites or handled their food. But among the controls, there was no link between the mothers handling the food and the babies eating.

"It’s not as simple as saying that mothers who think their babies are difficult feeders are handling the food more and hovering over the high chair tray with a jar of baby food. It’s not that the mother is trying to feed the child more; it’s that the child who is a difficult eater is much more likely to feed himself when his mother is there," says Lumeng, who is also a research investigator for the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

During fussy moments, babies were less likely to eat. But the babies continued to feed themselves bites at random times. While babies who were not fussy gradually slowed their eating over time, the fussy babies did not show those signs of becoming full. This could indicate a link between emotions and eating, similar to the comfort eating of many adults.

While the study does not suggest any specific behaviors parents can model to make mealtime easier, Lumeng suggests mothers should trust their instincts and know that their baby might be more tied in to the parents’ behavior during meals.

"Infants are really hard wired to want what you are eating. If part of the difficulty of the feeding is that mom’s eating BBQ chicken and the baby’s getting squash and rice, the answer is to let the baby try a bite of BBQ chicken. Some of these kids that mothers perceive as difficult eaters may just have a natural inclination to eat what they see their mother eat or handle or prepare," Lumeng says.


In addition to Lumeng, study authors are Jacinta Sitto, Tiffany Cardinal and Susan Mcdonough all with the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development.

For more information, contact:
Nicole Fawcett, nfawcett@umich.edu, or
Kara Gavin, kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220

Nicole Fawcett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/relarch.cfm

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>