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Mealtime communication patterns of infants from 2 to 24 months of age
  • J D Skinner, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • B R Carruth, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • K Houck, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • J Moran, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • Ann Reed, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • F Coletta, University of Tennessee - Knoxville
  • D Ott, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

The purposes of this study were to document mealtime communication behaviors used by 98 Caucasian infants who vr ere studied longitudinally from 2 to 24 months of age and to describe how these behaviors changed in the group over time. Using both closed- and open-ended questions in personal interviews, these middle and upper socioeconomic status mothers reported how their infants communicated hunger, satiety and food likes and dislikes. Mothers also reported their own response behaviors when they believed that their infants had not eaten enough. Only a few mealtime communication behaviors were common to all infants, suggesting that infants use various behaviors to communicate similar messages. Food likes were most often communicated by mouth/eating behaviors, such as opening the mouth as food approached, eating readily or eating a large amount of food. Food dislikes were communicated by mouth/eating behaviors, by facial expressions, and by body movements, such as turning the head or body away from food or throwing disliked food. When the mother perceived that the child had not eaten enough, most mothers offered alternative choices, either at mealtime or shortly thereafter. The results indicate that most infants are communicating via behaviors in feeding situations throughout the 2- to 24-month period.

Publication Date
Citation Information
J D Skinner, B R Carruth, K Houck, J Moran, et al.. "Mealtime communication patterns of infants from 2 to 24 months of age" JOURNAL OF NUTRITION EDUCATION Vol. 30 Iss. 1 (1998)
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