A study of factors contributing to mothers intrducing feedsto babies less than six months of age in Lusaka
Chimumbwa, Akalala Miriam
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Breast milk is superior and it is the biological norm for nourishing infants. Both early and more recent studies confirm that, exclusive breast fed infants are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea, malnutrition and acute respiratory infection. Early weaning is highly associated with morbidity and mortality due to diarrhoea, ARI and early malnutrition.The purpose of this study was to determine factors contributing to mothers introducing feeds to babies less than six months, in Lusaka.It was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted in two government clinics and one private clinic, in Lusaka City, and one rural health centre, in Lusaka rural.The Target population were mother-baby pairs. The babies were between the ages of one month and six months.A total sample size of 238 mother-baby pairs, was randomly selected using a standard formula. An interview schedule and a questionnaire, were used to collect data from mothers and nurses, respectively.The questions aimed at eliciting information, on mothers' knowledge, attitude and practices of exclusive breast feeding, baby data on perinatal events, reasons for introducing feeds, intended duration of exclusive breast feeding, and reasons for termination of exclusive breast feeding.Data was analysed using EPI-INFO statistical package. The findings in the study suggest that, premature introduction of feeds to babies in Lusaka, is principally determined by personal characteristics of the mother and is conditioned by her knowledge of, affective responses to breast feeding. Socio-demographic characteristics such as mother's age, educational attainment, occupation, place of residence and household food income levels, were highly significant as to whether one gave feeds or did not give feeds.Knowledge levels about exclusive breast feeding, are still low and as a result, the exclusive breast feeding rates are low because, only a few mothers practice it.There seems to be a positive attitude towards exclusive breast feeding in these mothers, thereby creating a knowledge, attitude and practice gap.Concern about inadequate milk supply, was the major reason given for introducing feeds and terminating exclusive breast feeding. Majority in this study were poor, and maternal undernutrition could be highly associated with inadequate milk supply.Recommendations have been made in accordance with the findings.
- Medicine