Rapid weight gain during infancy is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity later in childhood. Weight gain in infancy is closely linked wit feeding practices. Unhealthy mother-infant feeding practices contribute to rapid and/or excessive infant weight gain. Lower-income, adolescent, first-time mothers are less likely to engage in infant-centered feeding (ICF) which is characterized by maternal responsiveness (MR), healthy feeding styles (FS), and healthy feeding practices (FP). ICF is needed to reduce rapid/excessive weight gain during the first six months of life and to foster infant feeding self-regulation that is associated with healthy growth. ICF is a critical factor in reducing infant obesty risk and later adverse health conditions. Practical early intervention strategies are necessary to promote ICF among adolescent mothers to reduce obesity risk. We propose Baby Dayr, a novel social media intervention platform designed by the investigators which includes cell phone text message reminders, an infant feeding website, and Facebook to increase ICF through daily behavioral challenge activities (challenges) for this population. Because cell phones permit natural, frequent and non- intrusive contact as they are not time-or-place-dependent, they offer an innovative strategy for intervening with adolescent mothers. However, this approach is untested for its feasibility with this population regarding infant feeding practices. We propose an exploratory, longitudinal, randomized, two-group study design. The three specific aims are: 1) to establish preliminary efficacy of the intervention as assessed by infant growth evaluated pre-intervention, immediately post intervention, and when the infant is six months old; 2) establish preliminary efficacy of the Baby Dayr plus Maternal-Infant Health Program (MIHP) care vs. MIHP care only on infant- centered feeding (MR, FS, and FP) mediated by maternal knowledge and self-efficacy; and 3) establish the feasibility, acceptability, and satisfaction of a social meia intervention (Baby Dayr) for low-income adolescent, first-time mothers by assessing: 1) rates of enrollment and completion of daily challenges, 2) acceptability ratings of Baby Dayr; and 3) satisfaction with Baby Dayr. Participants will be randomly assigned to the intervention (Baby Dayr and MIHP) (n = 40) or control group (MIHP care only) (n = 40). The intervention consists of six weeks of daily challenges and will be delivered starting when the infant is four to six weeks old. The study is innovative in its: 1) assessment of ICF to reduce rapid/excessive infant weight gain in the first six months of life with low-income, adolescent, first-time mother-infant dyads, and 2) combination of an infant- centered skill-building, educational, and coaching approach using social media that is accessible and suitable for adolescents. The proposed research is significant in that it will contribute to the science related to ICF and knowledge regarding use of a social media platform in an at-risk population that can lead to reducing the risk of infant obesity. Information gained from this study will be used to refine the intervention for use in a larger-scale, longitudinal, randomized, controlled trial to reduce obesity risk in infants of low-income, adolescent mothers.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project is relevant to public health because it will apply a newly-designed, skill-building, educational, and coaching social media intervention (Baby Dayr) that is accessible and suitable for adolescent mothers to promote infant-centered feeding to reduce rapid and/or excessive infant weight gain during the first six months of life through maternal responsiveness, healthy feeding styles, and healthy feeding practices with low-income, adolescent, first-time mothers of infants. The social media intervention (Baby Dayr) uses cell phone text message reminders, an infant feeding website, and Facebook to increase infant-centered feeding through daily behavioral challenge activities. This proposed research is relevant to NICHD's mission because it has the potential to lead to infant feeding self-regulation with a long-term goal to reduce rapid or excessive weight gain in infants.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section (PRDP)
Program Officer
Lee, Karen
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Michigan State University
Schools of Nursing
East Lansing
United States
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Horodynski, Mildred A; Silk, Kami; Hsieh, Gary et al. (2015) Tools for teen moms to reduce infant obesity: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Public Health 15:22