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Mothers' views on feeding infants around the time of weaning

  • Ruth B Walker (a1), Jennifer A Conn (a1), Michael J Davies (a2) and Vivienne M Moore (a1)

Abstract

Objective

To describe women's views about aspects of infants' diets around the time of weaning, making comparisons with national guidelines.

Design

A survey of women with a 9-month-old child.

Setting

Adelaide, South Australia.

Subjects

Five hundred and five women who joined a longitudinal study during pregnancy.

Results

Sources of information varied, with written material most commonly used (37%). Cows' milk was considered suitable as the main drink for weaned infants by 14% of women. There were divergent views about the suitability of eggs, with many women concerned about allergy. The majority of women (84%) viewed fruit juice as suitable although many qualified their response, often by stating that fruit juice should be diluted. Almost all women considered the amount of sugar mattered, primarily because of tooth decay, and that salt mattered although the reason was often uncertain. It was widely believed (77%) that additives in food could cause health problems, in particular hyperactivity and allergies, and half of the women reported avoiding specific foods because of concerns about allergies. Many women thought that giving their child food that was high in fat would encourage a liking for ‘junk’ food or lead to fatness in adulthood.

Conclusions

There is considerable diversity in the views women express about aspects of infant feeding that have been the subject of guidelines. Further health promotion efforts are needed to achieve greater consistency with recommendations and to address other concerns women have. This will entail greater engagement with parents and shared development of responses.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email vivienne.moore@adelaide.edu.au

References

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