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Infant Behav Dev. 2006 Apr;29(2):189-203. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Postpartum feeding attitudes, maternal depression, and breastfeeding in Barbados.

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  • 1Center for Behavioral Development and Mental Retardation, M923, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Maternal feeding attitudes, maternal moods and infant feeding practices during the first 6 months postpartum were assessed in 226 healthy, well-nourished Barbadian mother-infant dyads. Factor analysis of the feeding attitudes questionnaire resulted in six independent factors. The belief that breastfeeding was better than bottle-feeding was associated with higher family income, more information seeking behavior and older maternal age at the time of her first pregnancy. Women who believed that breastfeeding was better at 7 weeks postpartum were also more likely to breastfeed at concurrent and later ages, up to 6 months postpartum. This belief was also associated with less maternal depression at 7 weeks and 6 months. The association between feeding attitudes and actual feeding practices was significant even after correcting for maternal moods and other background variables. Conversely, after controlling for feeding attitudes, maternal mood at 7 weeks was still significantly associated with infant feeding practices at 6 months. Thus, feeding attitudes and maternal moods were closely linked, but each contributed independently and uniquely to different aspects of breastfeeding, especially at 6 months. These findings suggest that early intervention addressing maternal feeding attitudes, may improve the extent of breastfeeding and the health of children in this setting.

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