Maternal and child characteristics associated with infant and toddler feeding practices.J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Jan; 106(1 Suppl 1):S135-48.JA
To describe maternal/child characteristics associated with important practices of feeding US infants and toddlers aged 4 to 24 months.
Cross-sectional analysis of data collected in the 2002 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study. Maternal/child characteristics associated with compliance to American Academy of Pediatrics feeding guidelines, and maternal/child characteristics associated with specific feeding patterns were assessed.
A national random sample of mothers (n=2,515) whose infants and toddlers aged 4 to 24 months made up the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study cohort.
Student t tests were used to compare the means and standard errors and were considered significant if P<.05. To predict if the mother/child met a particular recommendation, logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals.
Having a college education was the maternal characteristic associated with the largest number of positive child feeding behaviors. Mothers with a college education were significantly more likely than mothers without a college education to initiate breastfeeding and breastfeed the child to age 6 and 12 months (OR 2.8, 3.2, and 3.9, respectively). College-educated mothers were significantly more likely to comply with the American Academy of Pediatrics juice and complementary feeding recommendations (OR 1.4 and 2.0). In addition, infants and toddlers whose mother had a college education were more likely to consume fruit and less likely to consume sweetened beverages and desserts or candy. Ever breastfeeding the sample child, living in the western region of the United States, and being married and older were also associated with multiple positive practices. The child being in day care was associated with decreased duration of breastfeeding at age 6 and 12 months as well as with consumption of salty snacks.
Initiatives to improve infant and toddler feeding practices should focus on assisting mothers who have less than a college education, who are unmarried, whose child is in day care, or who are enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.