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 New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

Im Focus: Modelling leads to the optimum size for platinum fuel cell catalysts: Activity of fuel cell catalysts doubled

An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.

Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...

Im Focus: The secret of mushroom colors

Mushrooms: Darker fruiting bodies in cold climates

The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking down climate change with radar eyes

17.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

Researchers build transistor-like gate for quantum information processing -- with qudits

17.07.2019 | Information Technology

A new material for the battery of the future, made in UCLouvain

17.07.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>