Comparing Maternal and Paternal Complementary Feeding Practices: Findings From an Online Survey

Eleni Spyreli, Michelle C. McKinley, Moira Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore differences between mothers’ and fathers’ complementary feeding practices. Methods: An online survey of UK parents with a healthy child in complementary feeding age. Timing of introducing solid foods and adherence to feeding guidelines were assessed. Dietary quality was measured using the Complementary Feeding Utility Index. Results: In a sample of 60 mothers and fathers (nondyads), there were no differences between fathers and mothers in the timing of introduction of solid foods, compliance with complementary feeding guidelines, or dietary quality. Most fathers who participated had a male child, whereas mothers had an equal number of male and female children (P < 0.001). The proportion of mothers who followed baby-led weaning was higher compared with fathers (P = 0.02). Conclusions and Implications: Study findings reveal no gender differences in parental complementary feeding practices apart from the use of baby-led weaning. Future studies with bigger male samples are warranted to explore the paternal role during complementary feeding.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Early online date16 Jan 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 16 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was completed with financial support from the Department for Education, Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • child
  • complementary feeding
  • dietary quality
  • fathers
  • feeding guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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