Approaches to infant weaning and the issues caregivers face: a rapid review

Prescott, A. (2024) Approaches to infant weaning and the issues caregivers face: a rapid review. Norland Educare Research Journal, 2 (1): 8. pp. 1-29. ISSN 2976-7199


The World Health Organization’s global advice is that infants should be exclusively breastfed for six months and beyond with complementary feeding until two years old. The literature and guidelines on weaning (academic and popular) are vast and contradictory. The primary aim of this review is to examine the current scientific literature about infant complementary feeding. As such, the research questions were: (1) what are the key approaches to weaning and complementary feeding, and (2) what are the key issues or influences for caregivers when deciding how to wean their child? During August 2021, six databases were systematically searched for both qualitative and quantitative studies related to weaning. Thirty-three academic studies met the inclusion criteria. Thematic analysis of scientific evidence revealed an overarching theme of practitioner/expert perspective versus caregiver perspective. Five key themes were identified: weaning style – benefits and risks; guidance and advice; optimal time for weaning; influence of solid-food introduction on growth; and sociodemographic influences. Overall, other approaches to weaning include spoon-feeding, baby-led weaning, or a combination of the two.

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