Infant feeding practices are critical in shaping eating habits and predicting weight status later in life. Recommendations discourage adding infant cereal into the bottle. However, there is limited evidence on how this practice contributes to daily calorie intake among infants.
Determine the prevalence and sociodemographic characteristics associated with the practice of adding cereal into the bottle, and examine differences in calorie intake among infants who are fed cereal in their bottle and those who are not.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
Participants were recruited from a pediatric clinic, mainly serving low-income families using in-person recruitment strategy. Interviews and 24-hour infant feeding recalls were conducted in English or Spanish with 249 low-income mothers of 6-month-old infants. Similar to other national surveys, 1 24-h recall was carried out with 83% of mothers confirming that it was typical of infant's day-to-day intake.
Socio-demographics, feeding practices (adding cereal into the bottle, breastfeeding, types of other solid foods given), and total calorie and other nutrient intakes such as carbohydrates, proteins, iron, and dietary fiber. Chi-square test and ANOVA were carried out using SPSS v 26.0.
Of the total mother-infant dyads, 40% were African American (AA) and 36% were Hispanic. About one-third of the participants reported adding cereal to their infant's bottle. By race/ethnicity, this practice was most common among AA (44%) compared to 15% of White and 8% of Hispanic reporting it (P < 0.001). In comparison, the intake of total calories was higher among infants receiving cereal with the formula in the bottle [F (1, 247) = 23.37, P < 0.001].
Adding cereal in the bottle might increase the risk of rapid weight gain among infants by causing a higher intake of calories. Further examination of how different feeding practices contribute to growth among low-income infants is warranted.