Complementary feeding approach and maternal responsiveness in 8- and 12-month-old Italian infants:A longitudinal study


In Western countries, infants are usually introduced to solids through spoon-fed puréed foods (parent-led weaning, PLW). However, an alternative approach known as "baby-led weaning" (BLW), in which infants usually participate in family meals and eat independently, is becoming increasingly popular. We investigated the relationship between the type of complementary feeding approach and maternal responsiveness to infant feeding cues in a longitudinal sample of 178 infants observed at 8 and 12 months. Mothers reported the complementary feeding method used and, from video-recorded meals, we coded the proportion of time infants self-fed and rated maternal responsiveness by means of the Responsiveness to Child Feeding Cues Scale (Hodges et al., 2013). Responsiveness to infant receptiveness and fullness cues were significantly correlated at 8 months, but not at 12 months, when unresponsiveness decreased for receptiveness but remained stable for fullness cues. Thus, as infants got older, mothers were increasingly tuned in to their receptiveness cues. However, we did not observe the same pattern for fullness cues, perhaps because mothers were concerned that their infants did not eat enough. Moreover, at both time points, mothers were more responsive to infants' receptiveness than fullness cues, possibly due to an evolutionary drive to protect infants from starvation. Finally, responsiveness to fullness, but not responsiveness to receptiveness, was positively related to the proportion of infant self-feeding, but there were no significant differences in responsiveness depending on the self-reported complementary feeding approach. Thus, a weaning style that emphasizes independent feeding, regardless of whether this is labeled as BLW, may promote more infant-centered maternal responses at the end of the meal, with potential implications for promoting infant self-regulation not only at mealtimes, but also in other domains.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Institute of Health & Neurodevelopment (AIHN)
College of Health & Life Sciences
Funding Information: This research was funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, Progetti di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale [PRIN 2017], grant number 2017WH8B84 , to E.A. and F.B.
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Baby-led weaning,Complementary feeding,Infants,Responsiveness,Satiety,Self-regulation,Psychology(all),Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication ISSN: 1095-8304
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 07:29
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 08:51
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.sci ... 490X?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-11-01
Published Online Date: 2023-09-06
Accepted Date: 2023-09-04
Authors: Di Prete, Alice
Del Grosso, Denise
Focaroli, Valentina
Paoletti, Melania
Pecora, Giulia
Hodges, Eric A
Galloway, Amy
Farrow, Claire (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3745-6610)
Chiarotti, Flavia
Caravale, Barbara
Gasparini, Corinna
Gastaldi, Serena
Bellagamba, Francesca
Addessi, Elsa



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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