PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- There are behavioral reasons why breastfeeding can help a child avoid obesity later in life, U.S. researchers suggest.
Katherine F. Isselmann, a doctoral candidate in Temple University's department of public health, compared the feeding habits of mothers who breastfed their babies and mothers who bottle fed their babies. She also examined the eating habits of their pre-school age children.
In preliminary research presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting, Isselmann and faculty questioned more than 120 mothers about whether they had breastfed or bottle-fed their babies, using either pumped breast milk or formula.
The researchers found breastfed children could more easily determine when they were full. Children who were bottle-fed with pumped breast milk were less likely to respond to the feeling of being full by the time they were preschool-age. Also, children who had a lower response to fullness had a higher body-mass index.
"Mothers who bottle feed often focus on a set amount of ounces per day or time schedule for feeding," Isselmann said in a statement. "This could lead mothers to rely more on the bottle for feedback than on the infant's cues of fullness and hunger."