Infant Feeding and Weight in the First Year of Life in Babies of Women with Eating Disorders

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.
The Journal of pediatrics (Impact Factor: 3.74). 10/2008; 154(1):55-60.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.07.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine feeding patterns and growth in the first year of life in infants of women with eating disorders in a population-based cohort.
Women and their infants (n = 12 050) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were studied. Prospectively collected data on feeding difficulties at age 1 and 6 months, breast-feeding during the first year, and weight and conditional growth at age 9 months were compared for infants of women with a self-reported history of an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa) and women with and without other severe psychiatric disorders.
The women with eating disorders were more likely to breast-feed. Infants of women with anorexia nervosa were at higher risk for feeding difficulties between age 0 and 6 months compared with those of women without psychiatric disorders, after controlling for relevant confounders. Women with other psychiatric disorders reported more feeding difficulties than those without psychiatric disorders. Infants of bulimic women were significantly more likely to be overweight and to have faster growth rates at age 9 months compared with controls.
Maternal eating disorders affect infant feeding and growth in the first year. Health professionals should be alert to these potential effects.

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Available from: Emily Simonoff, Aug 16, 2015
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    • "Of course, we do not know if these difficulties occurred before or after the refusal of food following the medical episode, but we can assume that C.'s individual characteristics are in line with the psychological behavior of the parents, particularly of the mother. Several studies have shown that mothers who manifest difficulties over their food and traits of psychopathological risk towards depression, test their parental competence in relation to how much and in what way their child eats, and represent a significant risk factor for the appearance in their children of the same emotional-adaptive difficulties (Chatoor, 2002; Hagekull, Bohlin, Rydell, 1997; Micali, Simonoff, Treasure, 2009). In the case of C. we are led to suppose that the child already presented an eating disorder before the medical problems, possibly linked to the psychopathological difficulties of the mother, that pervaded the relationship between mother and child right from the first months of life. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent literature has highlighted the lack of studies concerning possible clinical interventions in cases of early eating disorders. We will report the case of a three-year-old girl who refuses and avoids food as a result of a medical problem affecting the mouth. Through the presentation of the various stages of assessment and intervention, the aim of this paper is to contribute to the development of verifiable and empirically based treatment, introducing innovative clinical work, which includes psychodynamic home intervention for the child. By means of empirical tools given to the parents to assess the psychopathological profile of the mother, the father and the child, and thanks to the use of observational procedures to highlight the features of feeding interaction, the paper aims to focus specifically on the appearance of this particular eating disorder and the need for all-round care of the child and her welfare, including targeted clinical interventions and specific treatment at home for the child. Conclusions: We believe that by providing a specific diagnosis, a subsequent clinical intervention to support the entire family unit can be worked out. In particular, it has been possible to reactivate a process of development that seemed to have stopped at the stage of weaning.
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    • "Relativamente a tratti presenti tra i familiari precedentemente all'esordio, Janet Treasure (2008) individua elementi di ansietà, compulsività e alimentazione disturbata. Le evidenze suggeriscono che madri che hanno una storia di disturbo alimentare hanno maggiori probabilità di avere figlie con gli stessi problemi (Agras et al., 1999; Micali et al., 2009; Allen et al., 2014). A loro volta, le figlie in queste famiglie mostrano maggiori preoccupazioni relative al cibo, al peso e alla forma del corpo (Stain et al., 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this pilot project was to describe maternal responsiveness during child feeding in mothers with eating disorder histories through the combined use of observational, self-report, and physiologic methods. For this non-randomized cohort pilot study, 25 mothers with histories of eating disorders 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 (within 6 months) and child sex. Maternal behavioral responsiveness to child cues was assessed by video-recording and behavioral coding of both a free-play and feeding episode. Physiologic engagement was assessed through measurement of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) reactivity during free-play and feeding episodes. No differences were detected in observed behavioral responsiveness during feeding or free-play in mothers with eating disorder histories compared with controls. Mothers with eating disorder histories did report more parenting stress, increased anxiety, and exhibited a blunted physiologic stress response (less RSA reactivity) during both feeding and free-play interactions with their children. These results support future larger-scale investigations of RSA reactivity in mothers with eating disorders.
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