Introduction and aims The impact of early nutrition habits is of extreme importance for future development and nutritional status. Many aspect of infants’ nutrition are based upon traditions and popular beliefs of the societies. This study was aimed to identify nutrition-related information sources for parents towards complementary feeding practices and to determine the variables that influence decision making regarding this nutritional period.
Methods A longitudinal study was carried out in “Grigore Alexandrescu” Emergency Children’s Hospital from Bucharest, the capital of Romania, evaluating toddlers at their check-up visit at 1 year old. Data collection included interview questionnaires with parents upon 3 outcomes: complementary feeding, socio-demographic aspects and nutrition related information source.
Results A total of 382 parents completed the questionnaire, with a response rate equivalent to 85.29%. There is a percentage of 44.7% of mothers that declaired they followed the paediatrician advise upon complementary feeding. This is mainly the case for urban population (56.0% vs. 21.6%), highly educated mothers (69.2% vs. 11.1%) and high economic level (69.8% vs. 12.9%). Friends and family are the most important sources for nutrition information mainly for mother in rural regions, low incomes and basic educational level (p < 0.05, CI 95%). Multivariate analyses showed that friends and family used as nutrition information sources are among risk factors for inappropriate complementary feeding practices (p < 0.001, CI 95%).
Conclusion Paediatricians and primary health care providers should offer solid and valuable alternatives to parents using non-medical sources of information when weaning their infants in order to avoid future mistakes.