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Image@ Andrew Weekes Photography

New study to explore childhood feeding

A researcher from Loughborough University Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED) has embarked on a project to explore links between mothers’ confidence and the ways in which they attempt to encourage their child to eat.

Two new studies will use photography and questionnaires to help understand mothers’ experiences of feeding their child, and to find out successful and unsuccessful strategies when trying to encourage their child to eat.

PhD student Caroline Jordan, who is building on her existing work and expertise in this area, said:

“Experiencing difficulties feeding your child is extremely stressful and it can be difficult for mums to know what the best course of action to take is.”

“Mothers who meet resistance when feeding their children may be uncertain whether the strategies they consider using to encourage their child to eat will have a negative or positive impact. It is possible that they do not engage with potentially useful strategies thinking they might make the situation worse.”

Caroline is calling on mothers with children aged 24 months to 6 years to take part in both studies.

For the first, she wants 10 mums to take a series of six photographs to reflect the tasks they associate with their role as a mother and their confidence in performing those tasks. Participants will be asked to talk to Caroline, either in person or over the phone, about these photographs for about 30 minutes.

The second is a questionnaire-based study, for which she requires 200 mums to answer questions relating to feeding, confidence and self-perceptions. The questionnaire is available online at

Professor Caroline Meyer, Director of LUCRED, added:

“Supporting parents with feeding their children is an important area of our research. Caroline’s research is making significant steps forward in our understanding, and will lead to targeted interventions for parents who often lack confidence in the strategies they are using.”

Anyone interested in taking part in this research can contact Caroline by email at

LUCRED is part of Loughborough University's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.