Objective: This study examined prospectively whether maternal orientation (Facilitator/Regulator) in pregnancy predicted maternal orientation and mothering practices at six months postpartum. Background: A woman's preferred approach to infant care, present prior to the birth, has been proposed to explain individual differences in mothering behaviour. Method: At 30 weeks gestation, 192 women completed two questionnaire measures assessing maternal orientation. At six months postpartum, maternal orientation and maternal caretaking behaviours were assessed by interview and questionnaire. Results: Bivariate analyses indicated small but significant correlations among measures of antenatal and postnatal maternal orientation. In addition, as predicted, lower Regulator scores in pregnancy were associated with greater likelihood of breastfeeding exclusively, less scheduling of infant feeds and sleeps, and less likelihood of leaving baby to cry to sleep. Associations were found between mother-infant night-time proximity and postnatal (but not antenatal) maternal orientation. Conclusions: Findings offer modest support for the stability and construct validity of maternal orientation assessed in pregnancy and reveal antenatal attitudinal factors that influence maternal caregiving trajectories.
- maternal orientation