When you're a busy mom, it's easy to overlook the harm in adding cereal to baby bottles and doing other things to supplement your baby's food so your infant son or daughter sleeps or stays full for longer. But according to a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston, this unhealthy practice may eventually lead to overfeeding and weight gain in your baby. Researchers have also found that women who are under stress in particular are more likely to add cereal to baby bottles.

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As part of the larger Bellevue Project for Early Language, Literacy and Education Success (BELLE), researchers questioned the mothers of 354 infants, asking whether they had ever added cereal to their baby’s milk. They also kept a tally of the mothers’ ages, economic situations and education levels, among other factors.

The results showed that 24 percent of the mothers admitted to putting cereal in their baby’s milk. However, those who showed symptoms of depression were 15 times more likely to add cereal than those who were emotionally and psychologically stable. Low-income mothers, in particular, reportedly showed more depressive symptoms. Single mothers weren’t exempted from the cereal-feeding percentage as well.

Evidently, having stressors in life may make mothers more likely to resort to less-than-healthy feeding practices. If you’re feeling too pressured as a mom, you may want to consider asking for help from your partner or other family members or friends rather than taking shortcuts with your baby's food and health, no matter how harmless these might seem.

(Photo by Alpha via Flickr Creative Commons)

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