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Appetite. 2007 Sep;49(2):429-40. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Food-related sensory experience from birth through weaning: contrasted patterns in two nearby European regions.

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Nestlé Research Center, CH-1000, Lausanne 26, Switzerland.


This study describes infant feeding practices among mothers from two European regions from the perspective of early sensory experiences. Two groups of mothers, one in Dijon , France (n=139), the other in Aalen , Germany (n=157) with infants aged 4-9 months were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Clear between- and within-group differences in weaning practices were found, particularly with respect to breastfeeding duration (Aalen>Dijon) and exposure to flavour variety early in weaning (Dijon>Aalen). By 4 months, 65% of infants in Dijon and 20% in Aalen, had received their first non-milk, solid foods. Before beginning to wean, 39% of mothers in Dijon offered their infant a variety of foods "just for a taste". This was the case for only 25% of mothers in Aalen. During the first 28 days of weaning, infants in Dijon were offered a greater number of vegetables compared to those in Aalen and more frequent changes from day-to-day. Thus, while Aalen infants were likely to be exposed for a longer period to different sensory experiences via breast milk, Dijon infants tended to be exposed to a greater flavour variety during the first weeks of weaning.

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