The complementary feeding period has lifelong consequences for the individual well-being. In many industrialized societies, the first solids that infants receive are puréed foods on a spoon – an approach known as “parent-led weaning”. In the last 15 years, there has been a rise in a “baby-led weaning” (BLW) approach to feeding solids, which is based on the infant independently eating finger foods, setting the pace and amount eaten at the meal, and participating in family meals. Several types of evidence suggest a positive relationships between a BLW-style of infant feeding and motor and language milestones. Firstly, the early experience of manipulating and chewing food leads children to using oral-motor and fine-motor skills related to language development. This hypothesis is also supported by the MacNeilage’s (1998) proposal that the articulatory cyclicity of human speech evolved from the cyclicities of mandibular oscillations associated with chewing. Secondly, eating together with other family members may provide important opportunities for exposure and modeling of language and vocabulary. However, the potential implications of BLW for child development have been largely overlooked. To fill this gap, we completed two independent studies investigating the possible association between a BLW style and child development in the language and motor domains. In the first study, a sample of 131 UK parents of children aged 8-24 months completed a questionnaire about their approach to complementary feeding, their current feeding practices, and the participation in family meals, and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories to assess child language comprehension and production. The findings showed that eating finger foods unaided rather than pureed foods at the onset of complementary feeding was positively related to more advanced child language comprehension (r = .225, p < .05), and production (r = .219, p < .05); similarly, the participation in family meals was positively related to more advanced child language comprehension (r = .318, p < .01) and production (r = .225, p < .05). Parental years of education were not significantly correlated with language production, language comprehension or any of the feeding variables. In a second study, a sample of 76 Italian mothers of 8-month-old infants completed the same questionnaires as in the first study and, in addition, the Developmental Profile 3, along with questions on the attainment of some developmental milestones. Findings indicated a weak tendency for the parents of the infants who reported crawling at 8 months of age to have more exposure to self-feeding than those infants who were not crawling by 8 months (t = -1.83, p = .068). Moreover, there was a significant relationship between the participation in family meals and higher scores in the cognitive (t = 2.36, p = 0.021) and communication scales of the Developmental Profile 3 (t = 2.02, p = 0.048), with no significant effect of maternal education (cognitive scale: t = -.70, p = .484, communication scale: t = -.76, p = .452). However, there were no significant relationships with self-reported measures of language comprehension and production and gestures production. These data suggest, for the first time, an association between a baby-led weaning style and developmental domains beyond diet and eating behavior, which warrants future, targeted exploration to assess its cause-effect directionality. This information may suggest that elements of the baby-led approach may support development in a range of areas beyond the complementary feeding period.

Is a baby-led weaning style related to motor and language development? Some preliminary evidence from two cultures / Addessi, E; Farrow, C; Webber, C; Bellagamba, F.; Chiarotti, F.; Blissett, J.; Galloway, A. T.; Shapiro, L.; Focaroli, V.; Paoletti, M.; Pecora, G.; Caravale, B.; Gasparini, C.; Gastaldi, S.. - (2021). ((Intervento presentato al convegno Protolang 7 tenutosi a Online.

Is a baby-led weaning style related to motor and language development? Some preliminary evidence from two cultures

Addessi E
;
Bellagamba F.;Paoletti M.;Caravale B.;Gasparini C.;
2021

Abstract

The complementary feeding period has lifelong consequences for the individual well-being. In many industrialized societies, the first solids that infants receive are puréed foods on a spoon – an approach known as “parent-led weaning”. In the last 15 years, there has been a rise in a “baby-led weaning” (BLW) approach to feeding solids, which is based on the infant independently eating finger foods, setting the pace and amount eaten at the meal, and participating in family meals. Several types of evidence suggest a positive relationships between a BLW-style of infant feeding and motor and language milestones. Firstly, the early experience of manipulating and chewing food leads children to using oral-motor and fine-motor skills related to language development. This hypothesis is also supported by the MacNeilage’s (1998) proposal that the articulatory cyclicity of human speech evolved from the cyclicities of mandibular oscillations associated with chewing. Secondly, eating together with other family members may provide important opportunities for exposure and modeling of language and vocabulary. However, the potential implications of BLW for child development have been largely overlooked. To fill this gap, we completed two independent studies investigating the possible association between a BLW style and child development in the language and motor domains. In the first study, a sample of 131 UK parents of children aged 8-24 months completed a questionnaire about their approach to complementary feeding, their current feeding practices, and the participation in family meals, and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories to assess child language comprehension and production. The findings showed that eating finger foods unaided rather than pureed foods at the onset of complementary feeding was positively related to more advanced child language comprehension (r = .225, p < .05), and production (r = .219, p < .05); similarly, the participation in family meals was positively related to more advanced child language comprehension (r = .318, p < .01) and production (r = .225, p < .05). Parental years of education were not significantly correlated with language production, language comprehension or any of the feeding variables. In a second study, a sample of 76 Italian mothers of 8-month-old infants completed the same questionnaires as in the first study and, in addition, the Developmental Profile 3, along with questions on the attainment of some developmental milestones. Findings indicated a weak tendency for the parents of the infants who reported crawling at 8 months of age to have more exposure to self-feeding than those infants who were not crawling by 8 months (t = -1.83, p = .068). Moreover, there was a significant relationship between the participation in family meals and higher scores in the cognitive (t = 2.36, p = 0.021) and communication scales of the Developmental Profile 3 (t = 2.02, p = 0.048), with no significant effect of maternal education (cognitive scale: t = -.70, p = .484, communication scale: t = -.76, p = .452). However, there were no significant relationships with self-reported measures of language comprehension and production and gestures production. These data suggest, for the first time, an association between a baby-led weaning style and developmental domains beyond diet and eating behavior, which warrants future, targeted exploration to assess its cause-effect directionality. This information may suggest that elements of the baby-led approach may support development in a range of areas beyond the complementary feeding period.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1577052
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