Mothers’ understanding of infant feeding guidelines and their associated practices: A qualitative analysis

Andrea Begley, Kyla Ringrose, Roslyn Giglia, Jane Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


There is limited evidence to describe Australian mothers’ understanding of the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines (AIFG). A qualitative inductive methodological approach was used in this study to explore experiences with the introduction of solid food. Seven focus groups with 42 mothers of children aged 4–18 months were conducted in disadvantaged areas in Perth, Australia. The mean age of infants was 9.6 months and mean age of introduction of solid food was 4.3 months (range 1.2 to 7.5 months). Almost half of the mothers in this study were aware of the AIFG however, only half again could correctly identify the recommended age for introducing solid food. Four themes and nine subthemes emerged from the analysis. Themes were (1) Every child is different (judging signs of readiness); (2) Everyone gives you advice (juggling conflicting advice); (3) Go with your gut—(being a “good” mother); and (4) It’s not a sin to start them too early or too late (—guidelines are advice and not requirements). The findings indicated that in spite of continued promotion of the AIFG over the past ten years achieving the around six months guideline is challenging. Professionals must address barriers and support enablers to achieving infant feeding recommendations in the design education materials and programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1141
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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