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Keywords:

  • child feeding;
  • anxiety;
  • control;
  • restriction;
  • psychopathology

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the relationship between maternal psychopathological symptomatology during pregnancy and at 6 and 12 months postnatally and maternal use of controlling and restrictive feeding practices at 1 year.

Research Methods and Procedures: Eighty-seven women completed a measure of psychological distress during pregnancy and at 6 and 12 months postpartum, and at 12 months postnatally these women reported their usage of controlling and restrictive feeding practices and were observed feeding their infants.

Results: General psychological distress, particularly anxious psychopathology, during pregnancy and at 6 and 12 months postnatally was significantly associated with maternal use of restrictive feeding practices at 1 year, even when controlling for length of breast-feeding and the infants’ weights at 1 year. Contrary to expectations, depression and eating psychopathology as measured by the SCOFF eating disorder measure during pregnancy or at 6 or 12 months postnatally were not associated with the use of controlling or restrictive feeding practices at 1 year.

Discussion: These findings indicate that anxious maternal psychopathology may partially explain the development of maternal use of restriction when feeding.