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Title: Maternal control of early milk feeding : the role of attitudes, intention and experience
Author: Brown, Amy
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2010
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A controlling maternal feeding style can have negative consequences for child weight and eating style (Ventura & Birch, 2008). Mothers who breastfeed during the first year exert lower levels of control over child feeding (Farrow & Blissett, 2008). Explanations for this relationship speculate that experience of breastfeeding reduces control as breastfeeding requires an infant-led approach (Taveras et al. 2004) or alternatively that maternal attitudes predict both initiation of breastfeeding and later maternal control (Farrow & Blissett, 2006a). The nature of this relationship is explored in this thesis. Mothers reported their intended and actual feeding style during milk feeds when pregnant and at six months postpartum using a modified version of the Child Feeding Questionnaire (Birch, Fisher, Grimm-Thomas, Markey, Sawyer, & Johnson. 2001). Maternal use of control in the form of scheduling and encouraging milk feeds was evident. A high level of control was associated with a shorter breastfeeding duration (p < 0.001). Control beliefs were present prenatally with intended breastfeeding duration inversely associated with intended control. Furthermore, attitudes towards the infant-led nature of breastfeeding were associated with both breastfeeding duration and control. Breastfed infants need to be fed to infant demand and amount consumed is immeasurable whilst formula feeding is open to maternal manipulation. A belief that breastfeeding was inconvenient was associated with scheduling feeds whilst concerns over milk intake and low confidence were associated with encouraging feeds. Whilst scheduling feeds was a stable behaviour predictive from prenatal intention, encouraging feeds was fluid and related to maternal experience. Concerns about infant size or feeding difficulties increased use of encouraging feeds. Maternal desire for control may therefore drive breastfeeding duration, explaining the association between breastfeeding and later feeding style. The findings have important implications for breastfeeding duration, early programming of appetite and bodyweight and later maternal feeding style.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Breastfeeding ; Infants--Nutrition ; Parent and infant