Associations between breastfeeding mode and duration and food neophobia in toddlerhood: A cross-sectional study among Norwegian toddlers
Background: Research on the association between breastfeeding duration and food neophobia is inconclusive. Breastfeeding and measures to reduce food neophobia are highly recommended to ensure a healthy diet early in life.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between breastfeeding duration and food neophobia in young Norwegian children.
Design: Participants (n = 246) were recruited through kindergartens in four Norwegian counties in 2017. The parents of 1-year-olds filled in questionnaires, including standardized questions on breastfeeding and food neophobia. Cross-sectional results are presented. Comparisons of child neophobia score at 16 months of age according to breastfeeding status at various timepoints during infancy were explored in linear regression models adjusted for maternal education and parental food neophobia.
Results: Still being breastfed at 12 months and being exclusively breastfed at 5 months were independently associated with slightly higher food neophobia score at the mean age of 16 months compared to shorter duration of breastfeeding. We found no other associations between breastfeeding duration and child food neophobia.
Discussion: Our study adds to the somewhat scarce literature regarding associations between breastfeeding mode and duration and later food neophobia; some literature shows protective relations between breastfeeding and food fussiness, and others report opposite or null findings.
Conclusion: We found that both being breastfed at 12 months and being exclusively breastfed at 5 months were independently associated with slightly higher food neophobia score at the mean age of 16 months compared to shorter duration of breastfeeding. As the data are derived from a cross-sectional study, these findings should be interpreted with caution.
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