A link has been established between babies who are 'comfort-fed' and obesity, with new research suggesting that parents who feed their children when they are upset rather than hungry are potentially setting up their children for an unhealthy relationship with food.
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that some infants have a greater dopamine sensitivity which is triggered by 'feel-good' reactions from eating.
This means that the child could develop a connection between food and comfort.
The study looked at how babies were fed at six months old and then assessed their weight gain 12 months later.
While the type of food provided to soothe the child was not specified, most of the babies had started solids.
Those who were 'comfort fed' were found to have put on the most weight in this period.
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, breastfeeding is recommended until 12 months, with this shown to provide satiety responsiveness and is also likely to reduce obesity.