Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Alison Tovar


Objective: To explore mothers’ experiences and perceptions of the complementary feeding recommendations they receive in the primary care setting.

Methods: English- and Spanish-speaking mothers of infants were recruited from WIC offices in Rhode Island and through snowball sampling. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted to investigate mothers’ discussions with pediatricians about complementary feeding and their overall impressions of wellness visits. Thematic analysis was informed by the Fundamentals of Care theoretical framework.

Results: The mean age of the sample (n=13) was 30.5 years and 62% were Latina. Overall, mothers reported being satisfied with wellness visits and that they trusted pediatricians (theme 1). However, most also felt that pediatricians’ feeding recommendations are vague or incompatible with their child’s behaviors or their own cultural preferences (theme 2), and that they are comfortable relying on alternative sources for advice (theme 3). Mothers described ways to improve wellness visits, most notably through additional take-home materials (theme 4).

Conclusion: This sample of mothers did not always perceive pediatricians’ infant feeding recommendations as comprehensive enough to meet their needs.



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