• eating disorders;
  • feeding behaviour;
  • maternal behaviour;
  • restrictive feeding;
  • infant;
  • toddler


This preliminary study surveyed the feeding practices of mothers with eating disorder histories through evaluation of mothers' reported feeding styles, child diet composition and restrictive special approaches to feeding. For this non-randomised cohort study, 25 mothers with eating disorder histories and 25 mothers with no history of an eating disorder with children ages 6–36 months were selected such that the groups were similar based on child age group and child sex. Mothers were compared on self-reported feeding style using the Infant Feeding Styles Questionnaire and on child diet composition and special feeding approaches using a modified version of the Toddler Diet Questionnaire from the Women, Infants, and Children program. Mothers with eating disorder histories scored lower on the restrictive feeding style subscale than controls. No significant differences were detected between groups in child diet including the percentage of mothers who breastfed, duration of breastfeeding, age at solid food introduction, daily number of meals or snacks or daily frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables or protein foods. Mothers with eating disorder histories were more likely to report taking a restrictive special approach to feeding such as limiting processed foods or feeding organic foods only. Although mothers with eating disorder histories may not differ greatly from control mothers in terms of child diet composition (smaller effects may not have been detected due to limited sample size), they may be more likely to take restrictive special approaches to feeding which mirror dietary rules common in individuals with eating disorders.