Mothers’ experiences of feeding situations – an interview study


  • Ann-Cathrine Bramhagen RN,

  • Irene Axelsson MD, PhD,

  • Inger Hallström PhD, RN

Ann-Cathrine Bramhagen
Doctoral Student
Department of Paediatrics
Lund University
Malmö University Hospital
SE 20502 Malmö
Telephone: +46 40 3331664


Aim.  The aim of the study was to describe parents’ experiences concerning feeding situations and their contact with the nurse at the Child Health Service (CHS).

Background.  Some of the most important tasks for the nurse at the CHS are to monitor growth, detect feeding difficulties and give advice concerning food intake and feeding practices.

Method.  Eighteen mothers differing in age, education, ethnicity and number of children and recruited from different CHS were interviewed. The narratives were transcribed verbatim and analysed by content analysis at manifest and latent levels.

Result.  All mothers’ described that food and feeding were essential parts of their lives requiring a great deal of time and involvement. Two major categories of mothers’ attitudes in feeding situations were identified – a flexible attitude and a controlling attitude. Mothers with a flexible attitude were sensitive to the child's signals and responded to them in order to obtain good communication. Mothers who expressed a need for control established rules and routines regarding the feeding situations. Mothers with a controlling attitude expressed receiving inadequate support from the nurse at the CHS.

Conclusion and clinical implication.  This study shows that some mothers experience inadequate support from the nurse at the CHS. Knowledge about mothers’ experiences of feeding situations and their different attitudes towards the child during feeding might improve the CHS nurses’ knowledge and help them understand and more adequately support mothers who experience feeding difficulties.