Most mothers may think that convincing their babies to finish the milk in their bottles is a good thing, but according to a study featured on ScienceDaily.com, this may actually encourage bad dietary habits.

Working with data from 8,000 families, sociology professors Ben Gibbs and Renata Forste from Brigham Young University found that babies who were fed formula during their first six months were 2.5 times more likely to gain excess weight as compared with their breastfed counterparts.

They also discovered that infants who were put to sleep with a bottle in their mouths had a 36 percent risk increase of becoming obese, while babies who were introduced to solid foods prior to their fourth month had an increased risk of 40 percent.

Forste notes, “Developing this pattern of needing to eat before you go to sleep, those kinds of things discourage children from monitoring their own eating patterns so they can self-regulate.”

As a precautionary measure, researchers recommend mothers to stop feeding their babies when they push the bottle away. For more information on proper baby feeding techniques, consult your pediatrician.

(Photo by nerissa's ring via Flickr Creative Commons)

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