Seeking advice on baby's diet? Just ask the expert
Mothers in the Middle East are more likely to ask their family and friends for tips on infant nutrition and wellbeing, rather than consulting doctors.
That’s according to the findings of the Milupa Apta-Junior’s 2012 study of 200 mothers in the region.
The study, conducted by IPSOS, showed that 56 per cent of mothers are confident that their friends are a reliable source of information on baby’s diet and 49 per cent are confident that the internet is a reliable source of information.
Family members may know the answers to many questions but it’s not safe to trust them on all subjects, warns paediatrician Dr Cynthia Chehade.
“It is understandable that mothers rely on family members for advice when it comes to their babies’ wellbeing,” she says.
“However, when it comes to issues concerning feeding and infant nutrition, in general, mothers experiencing doubt and concerns as to the correct methods of breastfeeding or the use of infant formula should always consult their medical practitioner or midwife.”
While the majority of mothers questioned said they are confident when it comes to feeding and infant nutrition as a whole, the methods they use run the risk of putting their baby’s in jeopardy, according to the experts.
The results showed 67 per cent of mothers believe it is safe to feed their babies infant formula in quantities over the stated dosage.
Fifty-six per cent of these mothers obtainin this information from family members. In addition, 42 per cent of mothers sometimes added vitamins to infant formula and 38 per cent administered fruit juices before the age of four months.
As a global public health recommendation by the World Health Organisation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
Dr Chehade adds: “Mothers who feed their babies with infant formula must strictly follow the guidelines given on the packaging and must never add vitamins, fruit juices or any other substance to the formula.
“Such practices can result in infants suffering serious discomfort and in some cases long-term digestive related illnesses.”
Experts on infant nutrition in the region are calling for more medically approved information to be made widely available and offered to parents seeking advice to supplement the guidance received by their family doctor.
Infant formula brand Milupa is backing this call by launching the Apta-Advice Careline to help guide parents on their child’s development.
The Apta-Advice Careline is a free service that offers mothers a full interactive platform through which they can ask questions and receive expert and personalised advice from a team of in-house nurses and nutritionists.
The Careline team provides advice, support, reassurance and general information related to child nutrition with a team available to talk to mothers on the telephone and via live web chats from Saturday to Thursday.
If you have any questions you would like answered, call 800 645 86262 or visit www.apta-advice.com