The BLISS Study: Does Baby-Led Feeding Reduce Risk for Obesity in 1 and 2 Year Olds?

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

  • Baby-led weaning (BLW) describes a relatively new approach to introducing solid foods
    • Infants feed themselves from approximately 6 months onward
    • BLW is based on the concept that infants can self-regulate food intake and this may improve body weight and reduce fussiness
    • Data is lacking as to risks/benefits
  • Siomski et al. (JAMA, 2017) sought to determine if BLW vs spoon-feeding decreases risk of being overweight at 1 and 2 years of age

METHODS:

  • Randomized controlled trial (RCT) from 2012 – 2014
    • Baby-Led Introduction to Solids (BLISS)
  • Women were randomized into the following groups
    • A BLW intervention (exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and then allowing infants to feed themselves after 6 months)
    • Control group where infants were spoon-fed
  • Primary outcomes: BMI at 1 and 2 years of age

RESULTS:

  • 206 mothers randomized
    • Mean age 31.3 years; 81.6% of European ancestry and 41.3% were primaparous
  • No significant differences in BMI at 1 and 2 years of age
  • The relative risk (RR) for being overweight BLW group compared to spoon-feeding was 2.5 (95% CI, 0.9-6.9) at 1 year and 1.8 (95% CI, 0.6-5.7) at 2 years
  • Infants in the baby-led weaning group had less food fussiness and greater enjoyment of food

CONCLUSION:

  • Allowing children greater control of solid food intake does appear to enhance food enjoyment and reduce fussiness but does not appear to impact weight when compared to spoon-feeding

Learn More – Primary Sources:

Effect of Complementary Feeding on Infant Growth and Overweight