This study investigated the proposition that breastfeeding facilitates mother-infant interaction in a context beyond feeding. The free-play behaviors of 11 mother-infant pairs in which infants were currently breastfed were compared to 16 bottlefeeding dyads. Coded maternal behaviors included positive instances of play, touch, vocalizations and affect directed towards the infants, and positive vocalizations, reaching and affect by the infants to their mothers. Analyses revealed that currently breastfed mother-infant pairs displayed more maternal touch and less infant vocalizing, but more fussiness. However, breastfed males and bottlefed females exhibited the most optimal behaviors, suggesting a sex by feeding interaction effect. The results are discussed with respect to the developing mother-infant relationship.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology