Given the lifelong associations between infant diet and weight, understanding maternal transitional infant feeding decisions can assist efforts to establish healthy eating habits early in life. Feeding experiences were explored using semi-structured interviews with 15 first-time mothers who were selected based on their concerns about their infants' weight in an infant feeding survey. Thematic synthesis of the interview transcripts identified three main themes: (1) Expectations of a “responsible mother”, (2) Trusting oneself and trust in others, and (3) From stress to successful feeding. Dominant social ideals of motherhood and infant behaviour influenced feeding practices, some of which are associated with obesity. Judgments of mothers' infant feeding practices and infant size alongside feeding and weight gain ‘checklists’ undermines maternal transitional feeding knowledge. Family-centred, non-judgmental guidance from peers, family members and health professionals would better support mothers to navigate the day-to-day reality of feeding and caring for an infant throughout the first year of life that is based on achievable personal goals rather than societal ideals.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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