To assess the association between diabetes family history and infant feeding patterns.
Data on breast-feeding duration and age at first introduction of cow's milk and gluten-containing cereals were collected in 3-month intervals during the first 24 months of life.
Data from the multicentre TEDDY (The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young) study, including centres in the USA, Sweden, Finland and Germany.
A total of 7026 children, including children with a mother with type 1 diabetes (T1D; n 292), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM; n 404) or without diabetes but with a father and/or sibling with T1D (n 464) and children without diabetes family history (n 5866).
While exclusive breast-feeding ended earlier and cow's milk was introduced earlier in offspring of mothers with T1D and GDM, offspring of non-diabetic mothers but a father and/or sibling with T1D were exclusively breast-fed longer and introduced to cow's milk later compared with infants without diabetes family history. The association between maternal diabetes and shorter exclusive breast-feeding duration was attenuated after adjusting for clinical variables (delivery mode, gestational age, Apgar score and birth weight). Country-specific analyses revealed differences in these associations, with Sweden showing the strongest and Finland showing no association between maternal diabetes and breast-feeding duration.
Family history of diabetes is associated with infant feeding patterns; however, the associations clearly differ by country, indicating that cultural differences are important determinants of infant feeding behaviour. These findings need to be considered when developing strategies to improve feeding patterns in infants with a diabetes family history.