Research Qualitative Research| Volume 110, ISSUE 10, P1485-1491, October 2010

Caregiver- vs Infant-Oriented Feeding: A Model of Infant-Feeding Strategies among Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Participants in Rural East Tennessee


      The aim of this project was to collect data from focus-group participants to inform the future development of region-specific educational strategies to modify infant-feeding practices that may predispose children to obesity. Infant-feeding perceptions and practices were collected from participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, through recorded focus groups, in two East Tennessee counties. Focus groups replaced the participants' required, prescheduled nutrition-education classes for participants with infants younger than 6 months of age. Twenty-nine focus groups were convened and recorded, reaching a total of 109 participants. Results of this series of focus groups indicate that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children population in rural East Tennessee was similar to populations elsewhere in terms of early solid-food introduction, frequent switching of formula, and sources of and valuation of infant-feeding advice. However, this population seemed to be different in the magnitude at which they introduce infant cereal early (primarily as an addition to the bottle). For this reason, interventions designed to reduce inappropriate infant-feeding behaviors in this population should focus on early introduction of solid food (especially infant cereal) first. In addition to these findings, a model of infant-feeding strategy development based on caregiver-orientation (framed within parenting styles) is presented and discussed.
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      K. F. Kavanagh is an assistant professor, Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


      M. Habibi is a graduate student, Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


      M. Spence is an assistant professor (Research) and the assistant director of the Public Health Nutrition Program, Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


      K. Anderson is a Peace Corps volunteer; at the time of the study, she was a graduate student, Department of Nutrition, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.