Infant Food Responsiveness in the Context of Temperament and Mothers' Use of Food to Soothe

Holly A. Harris, Amy M. Moore, Cara F. Ruggiero, Lisa Bailey-Davis, Jennifer S. Savage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Parents' use of food to soothe an infants' non-hunger related distress may impair an infants' development of appetite self-regulation. Parents tend to use food to soothe if their infant has more ‘difficult' temperamental tendencies. However, the role of infant appetite in this association is unclear. This study investigates the moderating effect of infant food responsiveness on cross-sectional and prospective associations between infant temperament and mothers' use of food to soothe. Mothers (n = 200) from low-income households reported their infants' temperament (i.e., surgency, negative affect and regulation) and food responsiveness at age 4 months, and their use of food to soothe at age 4 and 6 months. Temperament × food responsiveness interactions on mothers' use of food to soothe were examined using general linear models, adjusting for covariates. Cross-sectional associations showed that mothers used more food to soothe at 4 months for infants who were lower in negative affect and higher in food responsiveness (negative affect × food responsiveness interaction: p = 0.03). Prospective associations showed that mothers used more food to soothe at 6 months for infants who were lower in regulation and higher in food responsiveness (infant regulation × food responsiveness interaction: p = 0.009). Other interactions were not significant. Infant food responsiveness was consistently associated with mothers' use of food to soothe, independent of some temperamental dimensions. The findings highlight the salience of infant food responsiveness, both independent of and in association with temperament, on mothers' use of food to soothe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number781861
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding:
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number R40MC28317, Maternal and Child Health Field-initiated Innovative Research Studies Program. Funding for REDCap was provided by The Penn State Clinical & Translational Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University CTSA, NIH/NCATS Grant Number UL1 TR002014).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Harris, Moore, Ruggiero, Bailey-Davis and Savage.

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