Predictors of maternal control of feeding at 1 and 2 years of age

Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Oct;31(10):1520-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803661. Epub 2007 Jun 19.


Objective: To establish the best predictors of maternal use of controlling feeding practices at 1 and 2 years of age.

Design: A longitudinal study from birth to 2 years.

Participants: Sixty-two mothers of 2-year-old children.

Measures: Infant weight at birth, 6, 12 and 24 months, breastfeeding history, infant temperament and feeding difficulties at 6 and 12 months, maternal demographics at 12 and 24 months, maternal mental health at 6 and 12 months, maternal controlling feeding practices at 12 and 24 months.

Results: Controlling feeding practices at 1 year were predicted by perceptions of infant temperament at 6 months, birth weight, length of breastfeeding, mental health at 6 months, and mealtime negativity at 6 months. Parental control over feeding when their child reached 2 years was predicted by the mother's tendency to use that particular strategy at 1 year in combination with the perceptions of infant temperament and feeding problems at 1 year, weight at 1 year, length of breastfeeding in infancy, and/or maternal mental health at 1 year.

Conclusions: Breastfeeding appears to promote subsequent monitoring, and is associated with reduced use of pressurising and restrictive feeding practices. Infant characteristics are important predictors of control at both 1 and 2 years of age. The use of controlling feeding practices is relatively stable from 1 to 2 years.

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Breast Feeding
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires