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Infant Feeding and Weight in the First Year of Life in Babies of Women with Eating Disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55 - 60
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
PublishedJan 2009

King's Authors


Objective To examine feeding patterns and growth in the first year of life in infants of women with eating disorders in a population-based cohort. Study design Women and their infants (n = 12 050) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were studied, Prospectively collected data on feeding difficulties at age I and 6 months, breast-feeding during the first year, and weight and conditional growth at age 9 months were compared for infants of women with a self-reported history of an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa) and women with and without other severe psychiatric disorders. Results The women with eating disorders were more likely to breast-feed. Infants of women with anorexia nervosa were at higher risk for feeding difficulties between age 0 and 6 months compared with those of women without psychiatric disorders, after controlling for relevant confounders. Women with other psychiatric disorders reported more feeding difficulties than those without psychiatric disorders. Infants of bulimic women were significantly more likely to be overweight and to have faster growth rates at age 9 months compared with controls. Conclusions Maternal eating disorders affect infant feeding and growth in the first year. Health professionals should be alert to these potential effects. (J Pediatr 2009;154:55-60)

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