Feeding in small group care: A focus on caregiver behaviors in a Japanese infant home

[Speaker] Otsuka, Miyuki:1
[Co-author] Aoki, Kikuyo:1, Shimada, Kyoko:2, Yokoyama, Ryoko:2, Kurogi, Saki:1
1:Ochanomizu University (Japan), 2:Shirayuri Baby Home, Shinseikai (Japan)

Japanese infant homes value each child's development and attachment, and are working to improve care quality for the infants' future development. Since 2011, infant homes have been transitioning from "large group care" to "small group care," which will potentially result in changes to life structure and caregiver behaviors. This study evaluated the differences in caregiver behaviors during one aspect of attachment in daily life, feeding, for three infant groups: 1) younger infants (8-17 months) in a large group (6 sessions), 2) older infants (18- months) in a large group (6 sessions), and 3) infants in a small group (mixed age group: 12 sessions). Results showed fewer emotional and matching behaviors with older infants in small group care compared to those in large group care (p < .01). Potentially, in small group care, caregivers will focus more on younger infants; therefore, balanced attention from caregivers is needed.
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