Mothers' attachment style as a predictor of breastfeeding and room-sharing practices

Jason D. Jones, Roseriet Beijers, R. Chris Fraley, Jacquelyn T. Gross, Jude Cassidy, Carolina De Weerth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To prospectively assess breastfeeding and room-sharing practices during the infant's first 6 months and investigate whether mothers' own adult attachment style predicts the initiation and course of these recommended parenting behaviors. Method: This study included 193 mother-infant dyads living in the Netherlands. Diary methodology was used to generate 27 weekly measures of breastfeeding and room-sharing during the infant's first 6 months. Multilevel mixed effects models were used to examine trajectories of breastfeeding and room-sharing and to test whether mothers' own adult attachment style predicted the initiation and course of these behaviors, adjusting for covariates. Results: Most (86%) mothers initiated breastfeeding immediately after birth and the rates of breastfeeding declined steadily over the 6 months (b =-2.47, SE = 0.19, p <. 001). Mothers with higher attachment avoidance showed faster decreases in breastfeeding than less avoidant mothers (b =-1.07, SE = 0.21, p <. 001). Sixty-four percent of mothers engaged in room-sharing after birth which also decreased steadily over the 6 months (b =-3.51, SE = 0.21, p <. 001). Mothers' attachment style did not predict the initiation or course of room-sharing. Conclusions: Given the major implications of breastfeeding and room-sharing for infants' health, safety, and development, the pediatrics community has issued clear guidelines encouraging these behaviors. Yet many new parents do not adhere to the recommended practices. This study identifies mothers' adult attachment style as a predictor of breastfeeding over time that could be incorporated into interventions for parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-662
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • attachment
  • breastfeeding
  • infancy
  • parenting
  • room-sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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