Babies: Bottle Feeding

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about caring for babies. Making the transition from bottle or breast feeding to drinking from a cup can make a big difference in a child’s mental and cognitive development.

Dr. Jane Brotanek, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says when children aren’t weaned from a bottle by age 1, they have an increased risk for iron deficiency, which can lead to learning delays, behavioral problems and lower achievement. Children who drink more than two cups of cow’s milk a day and those who are breastfed after 6 months without also eating iron-rich foods such as cereal are also at risk. Dr. Brotanek suggests that parents start introducing children to a cup at 9 or 10 months to get the child used to the cup for a gradual transition. Toddlers need to eat a lot of iron-rich foods such as eggs, meats, spinach and fortified cereal, and constantly drinking from a bottle may make a child too full to eat nutritious foods.

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November 2009