Skip to main content

01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Pediatrics 1/2018

Infant formula feeding practices and the role of advice and support: an exploratory qualitative study

BMC Pediatrics > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jessica Appleton, Rachel Laws, Catherine Georgina Russell, Cathrine Fowler, Karen J. Campbell, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12887-017-0977-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Infant formula feeding practices are an important consideration for obesity prevention. An infant’s diet is influential on their later risk of developing overweight or obesity, yet very little is known about infant formula feeding practices. It is plausible that certain modifiable practices may put children at higher risk of developing overweight or obesity, for example how much and how often a baby is fed. Understanding how parents use infant formula and what factors may influence this practice is therefore important. Moreover, parents who feed their infants formula have identified a lack of support and access to resources to guide them. Therefore this study aimed to explore parents’ infant formula feeding practices to understand how parents use infant formula and what factors may influence this practice.


Using an explorative qualitative design, data were collected using semi-structured telephone interviews and analysed using a pragmatic inductive approach to thematic analysis.


A total of 24 mothers from across Australia were interviewed. Mothers are influenced by a number of factors in relation to their infant formula feeding practice. These factors include information on the formula tin and marketing from formula manufacturers, particularly in relation to choosing the type of formula. Their formula feeding practices are also influenced by their interpretation of infant cues, and the amount of formula in the bottle. Many mothers would like more information to aid their practices but barriers exist to accessing health professional advice and support, so mothers may rely on informal sources. Some women reported that the social environment surrounding infant feeding wherein breastfeeding is promoted as the best option leads a feeling of stigma when formula feeding.


Additional support for parents’ feeding their infants with formula is necessary. Health professionals and policy around infant formula use should include how formula information may be provided to parents who use formula in ways that do not undermine breastfeeding promotion. Further observational research should seek to understand the interaction between advice, interpretation of cues and the amount formula fed to infants.
Additional file 1: Semi-structured interview guide. (DOCX 18 kb)
Additional file 2: The how and why of parents’ formula feeding practices – further supporting quotes. (DOCX 21 kb)
Additional file 3: Sources of information, advice and support about formula and social environment – further supporting quotes. (DOCX 19 kb)
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2018

BMC Pediatrics 1/2018 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Pädiatrie

Meistgelesene Bücher aus dem Fachgebiet

2014 | Buch

Pädiatrische Notfall- und Intensivmedizin

Wenn es um pädiatrische Notfälle auf Station oder um schwerst kranke Kinder auf der Intensivstation geht, ist dieses Buch ein verlässlicher Begleiter. Übersichtlich nach Organen eingeteilt, enthält das Kitteltaschenbuch sämtliche essenziellen Themen der Kinderintensivmedizin, von kardiozirkulatorischen bis infektiologischen Erkrankungen.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Nicolai

2015 | Buch

Häufige Hautkrankheiten im Kindesalter

Klinik - Diagnose - Therapie

Das Buch bietet für die 30 häufigsten Hauterkrankungen bei Kindern einen Diagnose- und Behandlungsfahrplan: Für jede Erkrankung gibt es präzise Texte, zahlreiche typische klinische Farbfotos sowie Tabellen zu Differentialdiagnosen und zum therapeutischen Prozedere. Für alle Ärzte, die Kinder mit Hauterkrankungen behandeln! 

Dietrich Abeck, Hansjörg Cremer