Task-oriented and bottle feeding adversely affect the quality of mother-infant interactions after abnormal newborn screens

Audrey Tluczek, Roseanne Clark, Anne Chevalier McKechnie, Kate Murphy Orland, Roger L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine effects of newborn screening and neonatal diagnosis on the quality of mother-infant interactions in the context of feeding. Methods: Study compared the quality of mother-infant feeding interactions among 4 groups of infants classified by severity of newborn screening and diagnostic results: cystic fibrosis (CF), congenital hypothyroidism, heterozygote CF carrier, and healthy with normal newborn screening. The Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment and a task-oriented item measured the quality of feeding interactions for 130 dyads, infant ages 3 to 19 weeks (M = 9.19, SD = 3.28). The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory measured maternal depression and anxiety. Results: Composite Indicator Structure Equation Modeling showed that infant diagnostic status and, to a lesser extent, maternal education predicted feeding method. Mothers of infants with CF were most likely to bottle feed, which was associated with more task-oriented maternal behavior than breastfeeding. Mothers with low task-oriented behavior showed more sensitivity and responsiveness to infant cues, as well as less negative affect and behavior in their interactions with their infants than mothers with high task-oriented scores. Mothers of infants with CF were significantly more likely to have clinically significant anxiety and depression than the other groups. However, maternal psychological profile did not predict feeding method or interaction quality. Conclusions: Mothers in the CF group were the least likely to breastfeed. Research is needed to explicate long-term effects of feeding methods on quality of mother-child relationship and ways to promote continued breastfeeding after a neonatal CF diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-426
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • breastfeeding
  • cystic fibrosis
  • newborn screening
  • parent-infant relationship


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