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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1157-62. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.165. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Parental concerns about complementary feeding: differences according to interviews with mothers with children of 7 and 13 months of age.

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Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To investigate and analyze differences in parental concerns during earlier and later phases of complementary feeding.


Eight focus group interviews were conducted with 45 mothers of children aged 7 or 13 months. Deductive and inductive coding procedures were applied in the analysis.


There were marked differences in mothers' health concerns in early and in later phases of complementary feeding. In the early phase, feeding a child healthy food was an unquestioned and self-evident practice. The child's food was a specific category, separated from the rest of the family's food, and the mother's focus was on the immediate well-being and safety of the child. In the later phase, health concerns shifted towards a longer-term perspective, and the aim of integrating the child into the family's social world became as important as concerns about well-being and safety. Contested and partly contradictory practices resulted, including conscious acceptance of some intake of sugar and unhealthy fats. Perceived relevance of nutritional guidelines on complementary feeding was high in the early phase but declined later.


Mothers' concerns and practices in the feeding of a young child vary considerably across the early and later phases of complementary feeding. This should be explored further and taken into consideration in the targeting and timing of dietary guideline communications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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