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Appetite. 2013 Dec;71:7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.06.096. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Who's feeding baby? Non-maternal involvement in feeding and its association with dietary intakes among infants and toddlers.

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Center for Women's Health Research, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 104B Market Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, United States. Electronic address:


This study examined non-maternal involvement in feeding during the first 2 years of life and its association with breastfeeding duration, early introduction of complementary foods, and dietary intakes of selected foods and beverages. Data were from the Infant Care, Feeding and Risk of Obesity Study, a cohort of 217 low-income, African-American mother-infant dyads, followed from 3 to 18 months postpartum. Non-maternal caregivers (NMCs) were defined as persons involved in feeding an infant/toddler 50% or more of the total daily feedings. Use of any NMC and the type of NMC was tabulated for each study visit (3, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months). At each time point, more than half of all households reported a NMC. Fathers, grandmothers, and licensed childcare providers were the most common types of NMCs. In longitudinal models adjusted for confounding variables, NMC use was associated with a decreased likelihood of continued breastfeeding, and an increased likelihood of infants and toddlers consuming juice or whole fruit. Given the high prevalence of non-maternal involvement in feeding, interventions targeting multiple family members are warranted as they are likely to be more effective than those targeting the mother alone.


Caring; Feeding; Infant; Obesity; Toddler

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