Background: There is limited research in young infants, particularly <3 months of age, on maternal feeding practices in spite of increasing evidence that early weight gain velocity is a determinant of later obesity risk. Objective: To examine associations between maternal executive function (cognitive control over one's own behaviour), maternal feeding decisions and infant weight and adiposity gains. Methods: We used a checklist to assess cues mothers use to decide when to initiate and terminate infant feedings at 2 weeks and 3 months of age (N = 69). Maternal executive function was assessed using the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery subtests for executive function and infant body composition using air displacement plethysmography. Results: Mothers with higher executive function reported relying on fewer non-satiety cues at 2 weeks of age (β = −0.29, p = 0.037) and on more infant hunger cues at 3 months of age (β = 0.31, p = 0.018) in their decisions on initiating and terminating feedings. Responsive feeding decisions, specifically the use of infant-based hunger cues at 3 months, in turn were associated with lower gains in weight-for-length (β = −0.30, p = 0.028) and percent body fat (β = −0.2, p = 0.091; non-covariate adjusted β = −0.27, p = 0.029). Conclusions: These findings show both an association between maternal executive function and responsive feeding decisions and an association between responsive feeding decisions and infant weight and adiposity gains. The causal nature and direction of these associations require further investigation.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 World Obesity Federation
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Executive function
- infant adiposity
- infant feeding
- infant growth
- responsive feeding