Infant Dietary Experience and Acceptance of Solid Foods.

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Abstract

Design

Longitudinal study, of 26-days duration, observing infants aged 4 to 6 months at the start of the study. Random assignment to treatments, within-subject control.

Setting

General community in a medium-sized midwestern town.

Subjects

Thirty-six infants and their mothers. Subjects were solicited through birth records and advertisements in local newspapers.

Interventions

Infants were randomly assigned to be fed one vegetable on 10 occasions, either salted or unsalted peas or green beans, for a 10-day period.

Outcome measures

Infant intake of the vegetable consumed during the 10-day exposure period; intake of salted and unsalted versions: (1) before the 10-day exposure period, (2) immediately after the exposure period; and (3) after a 1-week period of delay. Intake of a control food was also measured before and after repeated consumption of the vegetable. Adult ratings of the infants' videotaped responses during test feedings were also obtained before and after the exposure period.

Results

After 10 opportunities to consume the vegetable, all infants significantly increased their intake (P < .001). Although they did not differ initially, infants fed breast milk showed greater increases in intake of the vegetable after exposure and had an overall greater level of intake than formula-fed infants. Adult ratings of the infants' nonverbal responses correlated positively with infant intake.

Conclusions

Infants increase their acceptance (reflected both in changes in intake and in behavioral response) of a novel food after repeated dietary exposure to that food. Relative to formula-feeding, breast-feeding may facilitate the acceptance of solid foods. Pediatrics 1994;93:271-277; Infant feeding, solid foods, breast-feeding.

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