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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 Apr 26;10:53. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-53.

The association of breastfeeding duration with later maternal feeding styles in infancy and toddlerhood: a cross-sectional analysis.

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  • 1Department of Community & Global Public Health, Arcadia University, College of Health Sciences, 450 S. Easton Road, 219 Brubaker Hall, Glenside, PA 19038-3295, USA.



Breastfeeding modestly reduces obesity risk, yet the mechanisms are not well understood. The goal of the current research was to evaluate the association of breastfeeding duration with a wide range of maternal feeding approaches in late infancy and toddlerhood.


A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from an ethnically-diverse sample of 154 mothers of infants (aged 7-11 months) and toddlers (aged 12-24 months) was performed. Breastfeeding history was self-reported where 75% of mothers had weaned by the time of the interview. Multiple dimensions of maternal feeding approaches were measured using the Infant Feeding Styles Questionnaire which assesses pressuring, restriction, responsive, laissez-faire, and indulgent approaches to feeding. Analyses were performed separately for infants and toddlers and adjusted for maternal education level, ethnicity, and marital status.


Mothers of infants who breastfed for longer durations tended to report greater responsiveness to infant satiety cues (p≤0.01) and reduced pressuring in feeding complementary foods (p<0.05). Mothers of toddlers who breastfed for longer durations tended to report reduced pressuring in feeding complementary foods (p<0.01).


These results suggest that breastfeeding may shape maternal feeding approaches related to responsiveness to infant cues as infants enter a period of complementary feeding, even after considering a range of demographic characteristics previously associated with breastfeeding behaviors. That responsiveness to feeding cues was not associated with breastfeeding duration in the toddler sample suggests that some aspects of this association might be isolated to infancy.

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