Breastfeeding and maternal sensitivity predict early infant temperament.

TitleBreastfeeding and maternal sensitivity predict early infant temperament.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsJonas W, Atkinson L, Steiner M, Meaney MJ, Wazana A, Fleming AS
Corporate AuthorsMAVAN Research Team
JournalActa Paediatr
Volume104
Issue7
Pagination678-86
Date Published2015 Jul
ISSN1651-2227
Abstract

AIM: Research findings are inconclusive when it comes to whether breastfeeding is associated with the mother-infant relationship or infant temperament. We examined the association between breastfeeding at three months postpartum and infant temperament at 18 months postpartum and whether this link was affected by the mothers' anxiety and mediated by her sensitivity.METHODS: We assessed 170 mothers for breastfeeding and anxiety using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) at three months postpartum, maternal sensitivity using the Ainsworth Sensitivity Scale at six months postpartum and infant temperament using the Early Childhood Behaviour Questionnaire at 18 months postpartum.RESULTS: Mothers who breastfed at three months postpartum were more sensitive in their interactions with their infants at six months postpartum, and elevated sensitivity, in turn, predicted reduced levels of negative affectivity in infant temperament at 18 months postpartum. This indirect mediation persisted after controlling for confounders (effect ab = -0.0312 [0.0208], 95% CI = -0.0884 to -0.0031). A subsequent analysis showed that the mediation through sensitivity only occurred in women experiencing higher anxiety, with a STAI score ≥33.56 at three months (ab = -0.0250 [0.0179], 95% CI = -0.0759 to -0.0013).CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that breastfeeding and maternal sensitivity may have a positive impact on the early development of infant temperament.

DOI10.1111/apa.12987
Alternate JournalActa Paediatr.
PubMed ID25727570
Grant List / / Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Canada

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