Online Program

Infant feeding information within mothers' social networks: What is the effect of advice that is consistent with versus inconsistent with clinical recommendations?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Sato Ashida, PhD, Community & Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Freda Lynn, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Natalie Williams, Ph.D., Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Ellen Schafer, MPH, Community & Behavioral Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA
Background: Mothers receive various kinds of advice regarding infant feeding that can impact their feeding behaviors. Few studies consider advice that is not supportive of clinical recommendations.  We aim to disentangle effects of advice that supports from that undermines clinical recommendations on mothers’ feeding practices (breastfeeding, introduction of solids).   

Methods: Eighty mothers of infants (0-12 months) from a Southeastern urban area were interviewed about their feeding practices and support network members (n=291).  Mothers indicated which members provided each of ten feeding advice (5 questions per type: support/undermine). Presence of advice within each network was calculated by dividing the total presence of supportive/undermining advice by the number of network members. Each network was decomposed in to four components (2 advice types, 2 behaviors). The overall network environment measures include the ratio of supportive to undermining advice and total presence of supportive/undermining advice.

Results: Majority (79.0%) reported receiving both types of advice: mixed-environment (35.8%: multiple advices of both types), primarily supportive (27.2%), and primarily undermining environment (16.0%).  Receiving relatively more advice supporting than undermining clinical recommendations was associated with higher likelihood of ever breastfeeding (OR=1.73) and not adding cereal to infant’s bottle (OR=3.17).  Advice supporting breastfeeding was associated with ever breastfeeding (OR=6.49) and not adding cereal (OR=7.51).  Advice undermining recommendations about solids was associated with decreased likelihood of complying with recommendation to not add cereal (OR=0.18). 

Conclusion: Competing advices regarding infant feeding co-exist in mothers’ social environments. Implications of facilitating supportive and reducing undermining advice may depend on the feeding behaviors considered.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the characteristics of support networks and information environments with respect to mothers and infant feeding advice. Identify the roles of two types of information, advice that supports versus undermines clinical recommendations, in explaining mothers’ feeding behaviors. Discuss the importance of considering the complex nature of health information in social environments and how they can be considered in interventions to facilitate optimal infant feeding behaviors.

Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health, Network Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal investigators of multiple projects in the area of social support and social networks in relation to health behaviors and published numerous peer reviewed articles on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.