Exclusive breastfeeding and parental styles in children with feeding difficulties

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Maximino P.
Franco V.
de Almeida A.R.
Nogueira L.R.
Fisberg M.
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© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Purpose: To examine the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and verify the associations between EBF and its duration with parental styles among children with feeding difficulties from a Brazilian reference center. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with children from a reference center in nutrition and feeding difficulties. Socio-demographics, parental styles, and breastfeeding duration were pulled down from questionnaires collected at the first clinical appointment. EBF was assessed using a single question and coded from never to ≥ 6 months duration. Parental styles were classified into four styles, as authoritarian, authoritative, indulgent, and uninvolved. Descriptive statistics and linear regressions were calculated and significant values established at < 0.05. Results: From 194 children that participated in this study, 19.23% were never breastfed, and 52.31% were exclusively breastfed for 6 months or more. Authoritative mothers (50.0%) had a higher prevalence for EBF for more than 6 months, while uninvolved mothers (33.33%) had a higher prevalence for never breastfeeding their children. Children who were longer EBF was positively associated with authoritative (ß = 2.15, 95% CI 0.62–3.68), authoritarian (ß = 1.92, 95% CI 0.37–3.47), and indulgent (ß = 2.20 95% CI 0.67–3.73) as compared to uninvolved parents. Conclusion: About 19% of the children were never breastfed, and 52% were exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months. Breastfeeding can be influenced by parenting style. Therefore, specific guidelines may be necessary, aiming at the success of this very significant period for mother and child.
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