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University of Colorado College of Nursing, USA
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Pediat Therapeut
The aims of this study were to test the feasibility of using salivary cortisol and salivary amylase (sAA) as indicators of maternal emotional arousal during feeding of young infants and to examine whether maternal-infant interactional behavior during feeding was associated with increases and decreases in cortisol and sAA. In this descriptive study, saliva was collected from 20 breastfeeding mothers with mean age of 30.5 (SD 6.1) years. Fourteen (58%) mothers were Caucasian. Infants were born at term, and were 7 to 18 days of age when feeding observations were done. For saliva collection, mothers sucked on a dental swab immediately before the feeding, 10 minutes after the feeding began, at the end of feeding, and 20 minutes after the feeding ended. Salivary cortisol is a valid indicator of HPA system function. sAA is an enzyme secreted in saliva that increases in response to activation of the autonomic nervous system, and is a sensitive indicator of psychological stress. The Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale was used to assess mother-infant behavior. Mothers reported no feeding disruption or distress during saliva collection. Salivary cortisol significantly decreased from baseline through 20 minutes after the feeding while sAA increased nonsignificantly. Several mother-infant behaviors differed based on whether cortisol or sAA increased or decreased with moderate effect sizes. Only maternal sensitivity to infant cues showed a significant difference in both cortisol and sAA. Levels decreased when mothers showed more sensitive behaviors. Findings suggest that use of physiologic biomarkers may provide insight into mother-infant interaction during feeding.
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