Maternal feeding attitudes, maternal moods and infant feeding practices during the first 6 months postpartum were assessed in 226 healthy, well-nourished Barbadian mother-infant dyads. Factor analysis of the feeding attitudes questionnaire resulted in six independent factors. The belief that breastfeeding was better than bottle-feeding was associated with higher family income, more information seeking behavior and older maternal age at the time of her first pregnancy. Women who believed that breastfeeding was better at 7 weeks postpartum were also more likely to breastfeed at concurrent and later ages, up to 6 months postpartum. This belief was also associated with less maternal depression at 7 weeks and 6 months. The association between feeding attitudes and actual feeding practices was significant even after correcting for maternal moods and other background variables. Conversely, after controlling for feeding attitudes, maternal mood at 7 weeks was still significantly associated with infant feeding practices at 6 months. Thus, feeding attitudes and maternal moods were closely linked, but each contributed independently and uniquely to different aspects of breastfeeding, especially at 6 months. These findings suggest that early intervention addressing maternal feeding attitudes, may improve the extent of breastfeeding and the health of children in this setting. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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