Commercial baby foods don’t meet weaning needs of infants
Deciding when to wean a child off of breast milk is a serious and important decision. A new study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports commercial baby foods provide little nutritional value compared to mother’s milk. So mothers may want to breastfeed a bit longer.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the UK analyzed 462 baby foods by four UK manufacturers to examine the nutritional content. The foods included soft foods, wet foods, dry foods, breakfast cereals, snacks, and raisins. Seventy-nine percent were ready-made spoonable foods. Of these spoonable foods, the energy content was equal to breast milk, but the protein level was only 40 percent compared to breast milk. Dry finger foods had the highest levels of nutritional and energy value, but were also packed with sugar. The ready-made spoonable foods also had lower nutritional value than homemade foods, but were higher in iron.
The infant years are crucial for development, but it is ultimately up to the parents to decide when a child should be weaned off of breast milk. More baby foods should be analyzed for a more comprehensive view of overall baby food nutritional value.
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