An article in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that who takes care of young infants determines how they're fed and how much weight they gain. The investigators, based at Harvard and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, looked at a group of more than 8,000 babies who were 9 months old. Of these, about 55% received regular care from someone other than their parents, and half of these were in full-time child care programs. Many of the others were cared for by relatives. The bottom line was that babies cared for by relatives or in child care facilities were more likely than those cared for by their parents to have been started on solid food sooner. They also gained more weight than kids who did not get solid food early in life. The authors concluded:
"Child care factors were associated with unfavorable infant feeding practices and more weight gain during the first year of life in a nationally representative cohort. The effects of early child care on breastfeeding and introduction of solid foods warrant longer follow-up to determine subsequent risk of childhood overweight."