New paper: The Perceptions and Needs of French Parents and Pediatricians Concerning Information on Complementary Feeding

The importance of complementary feeding (CoF) for the establishment of healthy eating behaviors from infancy is well known. Parents are the first influencers of a child’s diet and they are often in contact with pediatricians to gather trustable advice regarding child feeding. What is less known is if expectations regarding exchange of information are met and if points of divergence exist between parents’ needs and pediatricians’ perceptions of those needs with regard to CoF information.

With the release of new CoF recommendations in France in 2019, ESR6, Sofia De Rosso, was involved in the conversion of these recommendations into official public health communication material addressed to parents. The aim of this study was to explore parents’ and pediatricians’ perceptions and needs regarding information on CoF in order to build the strategy for developing a targeted health communication program and efficiently disseminate CoF information to French parents, possibly with the help of pediatricians.

ESR6 conducted two online surveys to gather information on CoF communication and guidance: one with 1001 parents; one with 301 pediatricians. The results showed that the importance of CoF for children’s healthy growth was well recognized by both parents and pediatricians. Parents acknowledged pediatricians as the most influential source of advice; and pediatricians were aware of their responsibility in counselling parents on CoF. However, pediatricians neglected the fact that parents gave high trust to their family and friends when in need of advice. The Internet was a well-recognized source of information according to all. Parents also have the perception that they are provided with inconsistent and contradictory CoF information. Diverging from what pediatricians considered useful, parents were interested in practical advice for implementing CoF.

To conclude, easy to understand messages, given with consistency, might make CoF information less confusing for parents. Pediatricians must understand the parental information demands in order to deliver timely and appropriate CoF messages based on updated recommendations. Effort is demanded from the public health sector in order to build a strategy to spread the new infant and child feeding recommendations via the means of informational material adapted to meet parents’ and pediatricians’ needs.


De Rosso, S., Schwartz, C., Ducrot, P., Nicklaus, S. (2021). The Perceptions and Needs of French Parents and Pediatricians Concerning Information on Complementary Feeding. Nutrients, 13, 2142.


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