Opposing Effects of Maternal and Paternal Socioeconomic Status on Neonatal Feeding Method, Place of Sleep, and Maternal Sleep Time

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OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to compare the relative influence of the socioeconomic status of both mothers and fathers on feeding method and cosleeping. METHODS: The time and method of feeding and sleeping were recorded in a log during the 4th-week postpartum and analyzed according to the parental Hollingshead Index of Social Position in 33 families with their first newborn. RESULTS: The effect of socioeconomic status on feeding and sleep was parent specific. Low socioeconomic status of the mother, but not the father, was associated with cosleeping (t ≤ 2.39, P < .01); whereas, a low socioeconomic status of the father, but not the mother, was associated with bottle-feeding rather than breast-feeding (t ≤ 1.94, P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic status of the parents differentially affects neonatal care. Programs to increase breast-feeding rates would be most effective if designed for and aimed at the fathers. Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.