Parenting Beliefs During the Infant Year: Effects on Infant Growth
Rapid infant weight gain (RIWG) has been established as an infant predictor of adult diseases such as, coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes type two. RIWG is well established in the literature with several key contributing factors, including infant feeding modality, ethnicity, maternal basal metabolic rate, socioeconomic status, timing of solid food introduction, and parenting response to infant temperament. The objective of this cross sectional retrospective quantitative study is to identify if parenting beliefs have an effect on infant growth. By better understanding the link between parenting and infant growth, this study will help to add evidence to the state of the science which seeks to establish a predictor set of variables surrounding RIWG. The specific aims of the study are to, (1) identify where along a spectrum of parenting beliefs a participant falls, (2) demonstrate infant growth patterns retrospectively across the first year of life, and (3) understand the impact that parenting beliefs have on infant growth after controlling for a set of predictor variables; maternal age, BMI, highest level of education, socio-economic status, ethnicity, perception of infant temperament, infant gender, breastfeeding status, and timing of solid food introduction. The sample for the study was that of English-peaking moms whose infant was between 12 and 24 months old. The infant must be a singleton, term infant with no medical diagnosis that would impact growth and development. Each mother completed a demographic and parenting survey, had their height and weight measured and then granted HIPPA access to their infant’s growth chart data for review. This sample contained 27 rapid gainers and 45 non-rapid gainers. A t-test looking at parenting style showed that when the infants were split into groups based on the presence of rapid growth or non-rapid growth, structure parenting score was significantly different between the two groups at the p=.02 level while attunement was not. When running a logistic regression with the two parenting variables, structure was again significant as a predictor of rapid weight gain while attunement was not. Using parenting style to better predict whether an infant is at increased risk for RIWG could help nurses tailor interventions to reduce this risk and perhaps effect change long term for both the infant and the mother.