Feeding problems in infants and their relationship with maternal depression at 1 and 2 years.

Samantha Rogers, Maria Ramsay, Jacqueline Blissett

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Feeding problems are commonly reported by parents and can have implications for infant growth and weight gain (Wright et al., 2007). Many parents also report that getting their children to consume, what they perceive to be, a normal healthy diet is a significant challenge (Cardona Cano et al., 2015). Feeding problems can therefore be a source of family stress and hinder parent-child interactions. Existing measures of feeding difficulties are typically designed for researchers, rather than clinicians, and/or are long. This means there is a clear need for a measure that can quickly identify feeding problems in a UK sample. The Montreal Children’s Hospital Feeding Scale (MCHFS; (Ramsay et al., 2011)) quantifies infant feeding problems but has not been used in the UK. The aim of the current study was to investigate the MCHFS’s relationship with demographics, early feeding history and maternal postnatal depression at 1 and 2 years. It was hypothesised that there would be a positive correlation between scores indicative of postnatal depression and feeding problems and 1 and 2 years. Participants were recruited from low risk maternity units in Birmingham, and were engaged in a larger study of maternal feeding style, infant eating and weight. The MCHFS and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were completed by 69 mothers (mean age 30.4 years [SD 5.9]) of 1-year-old infants (37 male/32 female); 35 of these women (mothers of 20 male/15 female infants) completed the same measures when their infants were 2-years-old. Infants were weighed naked by the researcher at 1 year and 2 year home visits. Demographic and feeding information was recorded at each visit. Mean infant weight was 9.98kg (SD 1.24) at 1 year, and 13.40kg (SD 1.92) at 2 years. There were no significant gender differences in MCHFS score at 1 or 2 years. MCHFS score at 1 or 2 years was not related to gestation, Apgar scores, maternal age, maternal BMI, income or education. MCHFS score at 1 year was positively associated with age of introduction to solid food and MCHFS score at 2 years, and negatively associated with weight at birth and 1 year. MCHFS score at 2 years was positively correlated with the age of introduction to solid food and breastfeeding duration. MCHFS score at 1 year had positive associations with EPDS score at 1 and 2 years. MCHFS score at 2 years was also positively correlated with EPDS score at 1 and 2 years. In this UK sample feeding problems, measured by MCHFS, were relatively stable from 1 to 2 years. Smaller babies with poorer weight gain were at higher risk of feeding problems at 1, but not 2, years. Later introduction to solid food and longer breastfeeding was associated with later feeding problems. Scores indicative of postnatal depression were related to concurrent and prospective feeding problems, suggesting the need to consider the impact of feeding problems on maternal mental health and vice versa.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Feeding problems in infants and their relationship with maternal depression at 1 and 2 years.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this