Contributions of nonmaternal caregivers to infant feeding in a low-income African-American sample


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Infant feeding is a well‐established topic of interest in obesity research, yet few studies have focused on contributions of nonmaternal caregivers (NMCs)—such as fathers, grandparents, and daycare providers—to infant feeding. Data from the Infant Care, Feeding and Risk of Obesity Project in North Carolina were used to investigate (a) which factors were associated with NMC feeding styles and (b) how NMCs’ and mothers’ feeding styles compared. Multivariate regression models utilizing random effects were used to analyse data from 108 NMCs who were identified by mothers as being heavily involved in infant feeding. Feeding styles were measured using the Infant Feeding Style Questionnaire. Several individual characteristics were important. Higher laissez faire‐attention scores were reported by men and NMCs who lived in the same household as infant. Men reported higher indulgent‐coax and indulgent‐pamper scores. Perceptions of fussier infants, older infant age, and higher infant weight‐for‐length z‐scores were also important. Mothers’ and NMCs’ feeding styles differed. Compared with mothers, grandparents reported lower laissez faire and indulgent‐permissive scores. Fathers reported higher pressure‐soothe and indulgent scores. Daycare providers reported higher restriction‐diet quality and responsive satiety. Feeding styles were also predicted to change over time for all caregiver types. These findings highlight the importance of helping all caregivers develop skills that will promote optimal infant feeding outcomes. Given the paucity of research in this area, it is important to improve our understanding of what influences caregivers’ feeding styles, especially among diverse populations, and how exposure to different feeding styles may shape children’s obesity risk.

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