Maternal attention and preterm infant feeding

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among the mother's internal working model of feeding, attentional process, feeding behaviors, and responsiveness accounting for maternal psychological distress, which may contribute to preterm infants' feeding difficulties.

Design and Methods.

In this descriptive study, 21 mother–preterm infant dyads were videotaped during feeding.


Surprisingly, the internal working model of feeding was a significant negative predictor of maternal feeding behaviors and maternal attention. All other correlations were non-significant.


Given the early timing of the data collection, it is possible that mothers had not developed a frame of reference of their infant as a person. Research to help further understand factors and timing affecting maternal feeding behaviors is needed.

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