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Croat Nurs J. 2020; 4(1): 127-133


Infant and Young Child Feeding in Croatian Nursing Programs:

A Cross-Sectional Analysis



1 Ana Vidović Roguljić

2 Irena Zakarija-Grković

1 Health Center, Split, Croatia

2 Department of Family Medicine, Department of Clinical Skills, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia



Author for correspondence:

Ana Vidović Roguljić Health Center Split

Kavanjinova 2, Split, Croatia E-mail:


Keywords: breastfeeding, Croatia, education, infant and young child feeding, nursing curricula, Model Chapter, nurses




Introduction. Breastfeeding rates in Croatia are far from WHO recommendations, with only 8% of women exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. Nurses play a key role in supporting optimal infant feeding; therefore, their undergraduate training should cover this topic.

Aim. The aim of this study was to determine if infant feeding is part of undergraduate nursing programs in Croatia, and to analyse relevant textbooks.

Methods. Between January and March 2019, all pub- licly available nursing undergraduate curricula (N=9) for the 2018/2019 academic year were assessed. Required textbooks were analysed by two indepen- dent assessors using the WHO Infant and Young Child Feeding: Model Chapter for textbooks for medi- cal students and allied health professionals.

Results. Infant feeding was included in all the cur- ricula. The mean number of topics from the Model Chapter covered in the four evaluated textbooks was 30.4%, of which 2.7% were classified as correct and thorough, 21% as correct and brief, and 6.7% as incorrect. Fields most poorly covered were: ‘Policy, health system and community actions’ and ‘Appropri- ate feeding in exceptionally difficult circumstances’.

Discussion. This is one of only a few published stud- ies looking at nursing textbook content related to in- fant feeding. Less than a third of topics, considered mandatory for health professional education, were covered in the required textbooks.

Conclusion. Even though infant feeding was part of all assessed nursing curricula in Croatia, the required textbooks were largely outdated, incomplete and at times incorrect.