(HealthDay News) – Low-income mothers are more than 10 times more likely to overfeed their infants, by adding cereal to bottles, if they are depressed or if the infant has a high-intensity temperament.

To investigate the maternal and infant factors associated with adding cereal to bottles, Candice T. Lucas, MD, MPH, from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues surveyed 254 low-income mother-infant dyads enrolled postpartum in an urban public hospital (91% Latino).

The researchers found that 24% of mothers added cereal to bottles. Factors independently associated with a greater likelihood of adding cereal to bottles were being a single mother (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.4), being depressed (aOR, 15.1), not breastfeeding (aOR, 1.3), and having an infant with a high-intensity temperament (aOR, 12.3).

“Overall, these findings demonstrate that stressors prevalent in low-income households, such as depression, single parenthood and associated infant behavioral challenges, influence feeding practices likely to promote obesity,” Lucas said in a statement. “It is important to provide support for parents related to healthy feeding practices if we are to end the epidemic of childhood obesity.”

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