Problematic feeding behaviours in infants and the mental health of their caregivers : a descriptive study at two public health care facilities in the Western Cape

Subramoney, Jeannine (2021-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.


ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Maternal mental health (MMH) is considered a risk factor for feeding difficulties in young children. Problematic eating behaviour may not pose an immediate physical health threat; however, long-term poor dietary intake is a known contributor towards poor developmental outcomes. Objectives: To describe the common mental health symptomatic status of mothers of children (1-3 years old) that present with problematic feeding behaviours at government health sites in Atlantis and a nonprofit organization – Courage-to-Care in the Western Cape. Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design with purposive sampling, 16 mother-child dyads were recruited. Problematic feeding behaviours were screened for using the Montreal Children’s Hospital feeding scale and anthropometric measurements were used for growth development. MMH was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item and the Common Perinatal Mental Disorders screening tools. Results: Infants had a current median (IQR) age of 22 (18.00-36.00) months. Most infants had normal growth development. However, 43% of infants scored as having severe feeding difficulties. Mothers had a mean (SD) age of 28.40 (7.03) years with 18% reporting severe anxiety symptoms and 25% with severe depressive symptoms. Suicide risk was high (50%). Infants with severe feeding difficulties were noted for 25% of mothers with severe depression and 32% of the mothers that screened in the suicidal risk category. Conclusions: The findings suggest that MMH screenings should be integrated at baby wellness clinics to help mothers who may be experiencing common mental health disorders to seek early intervention at primary health care settings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geen opsomming beskikbaar.

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