OBJECTIVE: To examine the degree to which obesity during infancy, consistent exposure to secondhand smoke, and parenting (positive attention, maternal involvement, and negative control) were related to early development of wheezing in a cohort of African American premature infants at 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months corrected age. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of a subset of variables from a larger nursing support intervention study. SETTING: Two regional perinatal centers in the southeastern United States. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and sixty-eight African American premature infants (70 boys, 98 girls) who weighed less than 1,750 g or required mechanical ventilation and their mothers. METHODS: The presence of wheezing was obtained from maternal report at 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Infants were considered to have medically significant wheezing if they were using bronchodilators or pulmonary anti-inflammatory medications. RESULTS: The percentage of infants who had medically significant wheezing increased from 12% at 2 months to 24% at 24 months corrected age. Infants who received more positive attention from their mothers had a slightly higher increase in the probability of developing wheezing over time. Infants of mothers who received public assistance had an increased probability of wheezing. Consistent exposure to secondhand smoke, obesity during infancy, maternal negative control, and maternal involvement were not related to the development of wheezing. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that the likelihood of developing wheezing in African American premature infants is associated with receiving more positive attention from their mothers and having mothers who receive public assistance. Because modifiable risk factors were not highly related to wheezing, intervention efforts need to focus on early identification and treatment of wheezing and asthma-related symptoms.