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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 6;16(22). pii: E4311. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16224311.

An Exploration of Complementary Feeding Practices, Information Needs and Sources.

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Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK.
Healthy Mummy Happy Baby, Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership, Bargeddie G69 7TU, UK.


Following complementary feeding (CF) guidelines might be challenging for mothers lacking time, resources and/or information. We aimed to explore CF practices, information needs and channels used to obtain information in parents living in areas of socioeconomic deprivation. Sixty-four parents of infants aged 4-12 months completed a short questionnaire and 21 were interviewed. Mean (SD) weaning age was 5 ± 2.5 months, foods given >7 times/week included commercial baby foods (33%) and fruits (39%) while 86% gave formula daily. The main sources of CF information were friends and family (91%), the internet (89%) and health visitors (77%). Online forums (20%), e.g., Facebook and Netmums, were used to talk to other parents because they felt that "not enough" information was given to them by health professionals. Parents felt access to practical information was limited and identified weaning classes or online video tutorials could help meet their needs. Themes identified in qualitative findings were (1) weaning practices (i.e., concerns with child's eating; and (2) information sources and needs (i.e., trust in the National Health Service (NHS) as a reliable source, need for practical advice). In conclusion, parents are accessing information from a number of non-evidence-based sources and they express the need for more practical advice.


UK weaning practices; complementary feeding; infant nutrition; introduction of solids; parents information sources; weaning; weaning information

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