Research Article - Journal of Food Science and Nutrition (2022) Volume 5, Issue 3
Factors that make mothers opt for breast milk substitutes in Zambia.
Background: The world health organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years or beyond. There is very little evidence on the factors associated with early introduction of Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) to infants in Zambia. We sought to explore the factors that determine the early introduction of BMS to infants in two suburbs, Kalingalinga and Chelstone, in Zambia. Methods: This was qualitative phenomenological study. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were the data collection instruments used. Up to 71 mothers of infants below six months of age participated. During the FGDs, the mothers were encouraged to reflect on their infant feeding practices. Mothers who participated signed the consent form before the start of the FGDs. The FGDs were conducted in a room at each health facility. This is in order to ensure confidentiality. Mothers were also free to withdraw at any time. The discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and organized using NVIVO software. This was followed by thematic analysis. Results: Maternal and external factors determined early introduction of BMS to infants. Maternal factors included perceived low milk production, employment/school, personal modesty, HIV/AIDS, perceived benefits of BMS, mode of delivery, traditional beliefs and standard of living. External factors cited included influence from manufacturers and distributors of BMS, friends and relatives, as well as health care professionals. Conclusion: Addressing maternal and external factors through educating mothers, peer to peer counselling as well as training of health care workers, families, friends and implementation of the Code could be helpful to improve infant feeding practices among mothers in Kalingalinga and Chelstone.Author(s): Priscilla Funduluka*, Chilengi Roma, Bosomprah Samuel, Raider Habulembe Mugode, Bwembya Phoebe, Mudenda Boyd