Parents experiencing early parenting difficulties often seek support through parenting programs. Characteristics of mothers seeking parenting support and information at an early parenting center in Victoria, Australia and the relationships between these factors and parenting behavior were explored using an observational measure of parent-child interaction. Participants were 43 mothers and children attending a 5-day residential parenting program at the Queen Elizabeth Centre. Maternal and sociodemographic data as well as an observational mother-child interaction task from the Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training Parent Child Interaction Teaching scale were completed and scored on the first day of the program. Certain maternal factors and experiences were associated with observed parenting behavior. Poorer maternal sleeping quality, unplanned pregnancy and preterm birth were all associated with less optimal parenting behavior in certain domains. Findings are discussed with reference to the impact of past experiences around pregnancy and birth as well as the current context and well-being of mothers attending early parenting centers.