Exploring the Practices, Experiences and Attitudes of Mothers Who Have Recently Weaned their Baby.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: There has been great debate on the timing to introduce solid foods and the practices associated with it; numerous studies have been devoted to these issues. The overall aim of the proposed research was to explore the practices, experiences and attitudes of mothers who have recently weaned their baby. Method: A cross sectional survey of 12 mothers who have weaned within the last five years was performed using a researcher administered, quantitative and qualitative questionnaire. Results: Awareness of the guidelines is high, however this did not necessarily result in compliance as 58% still weaned before six months. The most influential sources of advice varied according to maternal age. Relying on advice from informal sources such as family and friends was more likely in younger participants. All participants influenced by the advice of the health visitor (41%) still weaned before six months. Conflicting advice regarding weaning timing was received by 33% of participants. Sweet foods was limited by 75% during weaning due to its impact on dental health. Participants presented practical advice for others, emphasising persistence, offering variety and positivity. Conclusions: Awareness of the guidelines is high, despite this mothers are still likely to wean earlier, seeking weaning information from multiple sources much of which is conflicting. The internet was a valued information source for weaning advice. Health professionals, particularly health visitors should be able to direct mothers to reliable weaning information online. Mothers who have recently weaned have a depth of knowledge and insight surrounding the weaning period and may provide a supportive network for others.
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