Racial/ethnic differences in maternal feeding practices and beliefs at 6 months postpartum

Tayla Von Ash, Anna Alikhani, Cynthia Lebron, Patricia Markham Risica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine racial/ethnic differences in maternal feeding practices and beliefs in a sample of low-income smoke-exposed women. Design: Cross-sectional analysis using data collected during a randomised control trial. Maternal feeding practices and beliefs were assessed using the Infant Feeding Questionnaire (IFQ), which was administered at 6 months postpartum. ANOVA was used to examine differences in IFQ items by race/ethnicity, while multivariable linear regression models were used to examine differences in IFQ factor scores by race/ethnicity adjusting for potential confounders. Setting: Participants were recruited from prenatal clinics. Participants: 343 women (39 % non-Hispanic White, 28 % Hispanic/Latina, 13 % Black, and 20 % other). Results: Racial/ethnic minority mothers were more likely than non-Hispanic White mothers to put cereal in their infant's bottle so that the infant would stay full longer (P = 0·032), state their infant wanted more than just formula or breast milk prior to 4 months (P = 0·019), allow their infant to eat whenever he/she wanted (P = 0·023) and only allow their infant to eat at set times (P < 0·001). Adjusting for potential confounders, racial/ethnic minority mothers had higher scores for factors 1 (concern about infant undereating or becoming underweight), 2 (concern about infant's hunger), 4 (concern about infant overeating or becoming overweight) and 5 (feeding infant on a schedule), and lower scores for factor 7 (social interaction with the infant during feeding) than White mothers. Racial/ethnic differences were not found for the other two factors. Conclusions: Differences in maternal feeding practices and beliefs across race/ethnicity are present at 6 months postpartum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Feeding beliefs
  • Feeding practices
  • Maternal feeding
  • Racial/ethnic differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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