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Abstract

Early feeding problems, assessed in maternal reports about general problems and refusal behaviors, were investigated in a normal sample (n = 115) at the ages of 10 months and 2 years. In a longitudinal design, stability of feeding problems was studied. A model for development of nonorganic failure to thrive proposed by Chatoor (1989: Chatoor & Egan, 1983) was used as a guide in selection of potential antecedents to early feeding problems. The predictive value of parent-rated infant temperament and directly observed maternal sensitivity for explaining variance in feeding problems was explored. The results showed moderate stability for feeding problems. Feeding problems at both ages were predicted by interactions between infant temperament and maternal sensitivity. At 10 months feeding problems were marginally associated with an interaction between sensitivity and infant manageability (degree of negative emotionality); less sensitive mothers with less manageable infants reported more refusal behaviors. At the age of 2 years irregular infants were reported to have more problems if their mothers were less sensitive to their signals. The results are discussed in relation to studies of more severe feeding problems in infancy, and the Chatoor model was found to contribute to an understanding of the development of everyday infant feeding problems in a normal sample. © 1997 Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health