Department of Nutrition

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

ICAN-THRIVE Lab Research


Are you a new parent and interested in participating in a brief online survey about breastfeeding?  If yes, click fliers below for details

Breastfeeding Survey Flyer- Fathers (07-15-2014)Breastfeeding Survey Flyer- Mothers (07-15-2014)

Baby Mine

Baby Mine is an Integrated Project with Research and Extension, a Standard Grant, and addresses the USDA FY 2009 Priority to “improve understanding of behavioral factors that influence obesity, contribute knowledge to assist with developing effective programs to prevent overweight, and train members of the next generation of researchers and educators.” Consisting of three distinct phases, this 3-year project will address specific behavioral aspects of formula-feeding thought to contribute to childhood overweight/obesity and will do so among low-income, formula-feeding mothers in East Tennessee. The modifications of bottles of infant formula, consisting primarily of overdilution and the addition of infant cereal, are of concern because it is unknown how they might impact an infant’s rate of weight gain in the first few months of life. Rapid rate of weight gain from 0-4 months of age has been linked to later risk of overweight/obesity. Phase 1 consists of collection and analysis of samples of prepared infant formula, from a wide geographical region, and assessment of impact of bottle composition on rate of infant weight gain. Phase 2 consists of development and testing of nutrition education messages designed to reduce prevalence of these modifications. Phase 3 consists of an RCT to determine knowledge and behavior change as a result of transmission of these messages. Successful messages could be incorporated into the infant-feeding component of the Food and Nutrition Service Core Nutrition Messages, which are as yet undeveloped. Participants receive giftcards after completing the research activities. This study is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.


Past Projects

Infant Feeding and Life Stress Survey

This project examined the relationship between infant feeding and life stress. Pregnant women were eligible to complete an online survey prenatally and again at 2 months postpartum. Mothers of infants less than 6 months old were also eligible to complete an online survey. Results from this study will contribute to the field of research concerned with infant feeding outcomes.

Infant Feeding Styles Questionnaire

This questionnaire examined infant feeding styles.

Infant Silhouettes Survey

This pilot survey gathered demographic information and data related to infant silhouettes. Mothers of infants less than 6 months old were eligible to complete the online survey. Results from this study will contribute to the field of research concerned with educating mothers.

Mother-Infant Dyad Study

This project involved one-on-one phone interviews to gain information about the day-to-day experiences between a mother and her infant. First-time mothers of infants less than 12 months of age who live in the Knoxville area and are WIC-eligible were recruited.

Overcoming Breastfeeding Barriers

This project worked to identify what motivates low-income mothers in East Tennessee to overcome the various barriers to establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship with their babies. Phone interviews were used to assess commitment to breastfeeding and to identify strategies for overcoming barriers.

Baby Mine Group Discussion

This project involved focus group discussions to gain information regarding barriers to participating in research studies about moms and feeding babies. Low-income or WIC-eligible mothers with infants less than one year of age were recruited for participation. The focus groups will be used to gain information about the effectiveness of current recruitment practices.

Using Skype for Breastfeeding Consultation: Maternal Response to Experience

This pilot project tested the feasibility, accuracy, and acceptability of using Skype for remote breastfeeding support, by comparing the outcome of consultation modes (in-person vs. Skype). Mothers participated in two breastfeeding consultations, via internet video (Skype) and in-person, with two different International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Within three days of participation, mothers were contacted via telephone and interviewed, using primarily open-ended questions, regarding their general satisfaction and comfort level with the internet consult.

Using Skype for Breastfeeding Consultation: Feasibility Study to Determine Accuracy of Diagnosis and Referral

This pilot project assessed the feasibility, including accuracy, security, and acceptability, of using Skype for remote breastfeeding support. The study compared the diagnosis and referral, resulting from video consultation between a mother/infant pair and an IBCLC, with the diagnosis and referral resulting from an in-person consultation between the same mother/infant pair and a second IBCLC. The communication between the remote IBCLC and the mother/infant pair occurred in a highly controlled setting (the same building), allowing for assurance of security and completion of the referral process. The similarities or differences between consultation modes were compared using data collected from the consultation notes. The results included these comparisons, along with successes and challenges of implementation of such a project.

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