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Nurses' knowledge of current guidelines for infant feeding and weaning

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Abstract Background 

Poor infant feeding practices are common causes of nonorganic failure to thrive and may exacerbate the effects of many chronic conditions. It is important therefore that parents receive correct and consistent feeding advice from health professionals. The aim of this study was to determine whether hospital paediatric nursing staff are familiar with the recommendations of the Department of Health (DOH) Weaning Report ( DOH, 1994). Methods 

A total of 127 members of nursing staff (79%) at Derbyshire Children's Hospital were interviewed. Knowledge of recommended practices for the introduction and use of cow's milk, gluten, milk products, mashed foods, vitamin supplements and drinks was assessed. Results 

Overall, 42 people (33%) answered all questions correctly. In each clinical area, six outpatient (64%), 19 special care baby unit (61%) and 17 ward (20%) staff provided correct answers to all questions. No significant difference was found between staff at each grade in the number of questions answered correctly. Conclusions 

Knowledge of national infant feeding and weaning guidelines was limited suggesting that DOH recommendations are not widely understood or recognized. Further nutrition education and local dissemination of information is required if nurses are to continue to advise parents on aspects of infant feeding.
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Keywords: NHS Trust; infant feeding guidelines; infant nutrition; knowledge; nurses; weaning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Southern Derbyshire Acute Hospital, NHS Trust, Derby City General Hospital, Derby, DE22 3NE, UK; 2: Rehabilitation Research Unit, University of Nottingham, School of Community Health Sciences, Southern Derbyshire Acute Hospitals, NHS Trust, Derby City General Hospital, Derby, DE22 3NE, UK

Publication date: 01 April 2003

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