New paper: Information seeking of French parents regarding infant and young child feeding: practices, needs and determinants

Sofia De Rosso (ESR6) recently published a paper (open access) exploring practices, needs and determinants of information seeking of French parents regarding infant and young child feeding in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Previous studies have explored parental behaviors and feelings regarding infant and young child feeding (IYCF), and they demonstrated that most parents are aware of the importance of their role in shaping the early foundations of their children’s diet. Parents can rely on different sources to gather information and advice on IYCF and sources can vary depending from parents’ or children characteristics. To prepare a public health communication strategy to spread new feeding recommendations to the lay public, it is therefore topical to focus on the information-seeking practices of parents with different profiles.

The results of a survey conducted with a sample of 1001 parents showed that the most used and trustworthy source of advice was health care professionals, followed by the internet, which was the least influential source. Those sources had a very different reported influence on parental feeding behavior, and the relative influence could differ according to the studied characteristics of the parent (financial situation, education and parity) or the child (age, prematurity). The parents of children having a medical condition that impacted their diet also reported slightly different practices and needs. Lastly, the parents often looked for practical tips regarding IYCF, such as examples of recipes and menus.

This study contributes to the evidence available for public health stakeholders when updating and providing resources for parents regarding IYCF. Dissemination via health care professionals is preferable due to their influence on parental behavior. Attention should be paid to the clarity of the explanation on the content, making sure to adopt a tone that is less injunctive and that the content will be adapted to parents with different socio-economic statuses to avoid accentuating health literacy inequalities. In developing communication strategies for IYCF guidelines, both paper-based and digital tools should be considered, including the creation of a recognized official website that is well-indexed in search engines or a digital tool such as an application for smartphones.


De Rosso, S., Nicklaus, S., Ducrot, P., & Schwartz, C. (2021). Information seeking of French parents regarding infant and young child feeding: practices, needs and determinants. Public Health Nutrition, 1-14. https://doi:10.1017/S1368980021003086


Photo CC: Joe Urrutia/Nofima


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