Hidden Realities of Infant Feeding: Systematic Review of Qualitative Findings from Parents

Anne M. Dattilo, Ryan S. Carvalho, Rubens Feferbaum, Stewart Forsyth, Ai Zhao

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    56 Downloads (Pure)


    A growing, global conversation, regarding realities and challenges that parents experience today is ever-present. To understand recent parent's attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions regarding infant feeding, we sought to systematically identify and synthesize original qualitative research findings. Following the Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research (ENTREQ) framework, electronic databases were searched with a priori terms applied to title/abstract fields and limited to studies published in English from 2015 to 2019, inclusive. Study quality assessment was conducted using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist, and thematic analyses performed. Of 73 studies meeting inclusion criteria, four major themes emerged. (1) Breastfeeding is best for an infant; (2) Distinct attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of mothers that breastfeed, and those that could not or chose not to breastfeed, are evident; (3) Infant feeding behaviors are influenced by the socio-cultural environment of the family, and (4) Parent's expectations of education and support addressing personal infant feeding choices from health care providers are not always met. This systematic review, guided by constructs within behavioral models and theories, provides updated findings to help inform the development of nutrition education curricula and public policy programs. Results can be applied within scale-up nutrition and behavioral education interventions that support parents during infant feeding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number83
    Number of pages13
    JournalBehavioral Sciences
    Issue number5
    Early online date27 Apr 2020
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020


    • Behavior
    • Infant feeding
    • Nutrition education
    • Parents
    • Qualitative methods
    • Systematic review

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Development
    • Genetics
    • Psychology(all)
    • Behavioral Neuroscience


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