Neurodevelopmental Profile, Growth, and Psychosocial Environment of Preterm Infants with Difficult Feeding Behavior at Age 2 Years

Tara L. Crapnell, Lianne J. Woodward, Cynthia E. Rogers, Terrie E. Inder, Roberta G. Pineda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the association of difficult feeding behaviors in very preterm infants at age 2 years with growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes and family factors and functioning. Study design Eighty children born ≤30 weeks gestation were studied from birth until age 2 years. Feeding difficulties were assessed using the Eating Subscale of the Infant-Toddler Social Emotional Assessment at age 2 years, along with growth measurement and developmental testing. Maternal mental health and family factors were assessed using standardized questionnaires. ANOVA and χ2 analyses were performed to determine associations between feeding difficulties and growth, neurodevelopmental outcomes, and family characteristics. Results Twenty-one children (26%) were at risk for feeding difficulties, and an additional 18 (23%) had definite feeding difficulties at age 2 years. Those with feeding difficulties were more likely to be subject to a range of neurodevelopmental problems, including impaired cognition (P = .02), language (P = .04), motor (P = .01), and socioemotional (P < .007) skills. Compared with the parents of children with fewer feeding difficulties, parents of the children with feeding difficulties had higher parenting stress (P = .02) and reported more difficulty managing their child's behavior (P = .002) and more frequent parent–child interaction problems (P = .002). No associations were found between difficult feeding behaviors and growth, maternal mental health, or family factors. Conclusion Difficult feeding behaviors in children born very preterm appear to be highly comorbid with other developmental and family challenges, including neurodevelopmental impairment and parent–child interaction difficulties. Focusing on improving feeding skills, in conjunction with supporting positive parent–child interactions, may be beneficial for improving outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurodevelopmental Profile, Growth, and Psychosocial Environment of Preterm Infants with Difficult Feeding Behavior at Age 2 Years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this