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Appetite. 2013 Dec;71:321-31. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.08.022. Epub 2013 Sep 14.

Complementary feeding and "donner les bases du goût" (providing the foundation of taste). A qualitative approach to understand weaning practices, attitudes and experiences by French mothers.

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Biopsychology Group, Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK; Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Paul Bocuse, Château du Vivier, 69130 Ecully, France.


Complementary feeding (CF) practices vary within and across cultures but have been investigated only to a very limited extent. It is however important to understand CF practices and how they differ, as CF sets the foundation for children's later food choices. The present study was set out to examine practices, attitudes and experiences of CF including the introduction of vegetables amongst French mothers (n=18, 25-39 years). Thematic analysis of transcribed focus groups and interviews revealed the perceived importance of the weaning period, as a critical milestone for infants' development but with a sense of "now or never" for introducing new tastes including vegetables. Flavour exposure and taste discovery during weaning were identified as the beginning of a "taste journey", in which educating the palate with a variety of different foods was considered important for children's later eating habits. Weaning was described as emotional and complex, a transition period in which the baby makes progress away from milk towards the family diet and which goes beyond mere nutrition. Advice was sought from official sources, but adapted to the needs of infants. In agreement with earlier observations of French adults, pleasure and taste development were considered of primary importance. In particular, French mothers believed complementary feeding lay the foundations of taste early in life.


Complementary feeding; Infant feeding practices; Qualitative methodology; Vegetables; Weaning

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