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: 3.79). 10/2008; 154(1):55-60.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.07.003
Source: PubMed


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: Janet L Treasure, Sep 30, 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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015
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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). "

    Full-text · Chapter · Jan 2015
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    • "In the case of maternal eating disorder symptoms, it is important to distinguish between the effects of maternal eating pathology and those of more general psychiatric morbidity. Research from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) [11] helps to address this issue. In the ALSPAC sample (n = 12,050), women with a self-reported history of anorexia nervosa (AN; n = 247) or bulimia nervosa (BN; n = 194) reported more feeding difficulties in the first 12 months post-partum than general control participants [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have found associations between maternal and family factors and child eating disorder symptoms. However, it is not clear whether family factors predict eating disorder symptoms specifically, or relate to more general child psychopathology, of which eating disorder symptoms may be one component. This study aimed to identify maternal and family factors that may predict increases or decreases in child eating disorder symptoms over time, accounting for children's body mass index z-scores and levels of general psychological distress. Participants were 221 mother-child dyads from the Childhood Growth and Development Study, a prospective cohort study in Western Australia. Participants were assessed at baseline, 1-year follow-up and 2-year follow-up using interview and self-report measures. Children had a mean age of 10 years at baseline and 46% were male. Linear mixed models and generalised estimating equations were used to identify predictors of children's eating disorder symptoms, with outcome variables including a global index of eating disorder psychopathology, levels of dietary restraint, levels of emotional eating, and the presence of loss of control ('binge') eating. Children of mothers with a current or past eating disorder reported significantly higher levels of global eating disorder symptoms and emotional eating than other children, and mothers with a current or past eating disorder reported significantly more concern about their children's weight than other mothers. Maternal concern about child weight, rather than maternal eating disorder symptoms, was significant in predicting child eating disorder symptoms over time. Family exposure to stress and low maternal education were additional risk factors for eating disorder symptoms, whilst child-reported family satisfaction was a protective factor. After adjusting for relevant confounding variables, maternal concern about child weight, children's level of family satisfaction, family exposure to stress, and maternal education are unique predictors of child eating disorder symptoms.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Eating Disorders
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