Research Article - Journal of Food Science and Nutrition (2018) Volume 1, Issue 3
Father-targeted nutrition education improves early initiation and breastfeeding exclusivity: The case of Kisumu county, Kenya
Objectives: Mothers who have physical and emotional support during the early post-partum period have a greater likelihood of succeeding in breastfeeding. This study examined the effect of nutrition education on fathers in improving early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding in the first 3 months of the infant’s life.
Methods: An interventional study was conducted in Kisumu East Sub County, Kenya. All the women who were 6 months pregnant between January and April 2016 and attending the antenatal clinic at Kisumu County hospital were included in the study. Once contacted, each woman provided the telephone contact of the father-to-be. The later were then invited to a meeting at the hospital within 2 weeks of first contact to get their consent to participate in the study. The pair were asked to pick one among pre-numbered papers which randomly put them in either the intervention or control group with each group having 145 pairs. A total of 290 fathermother pairs were recruited. The study site was selected based on the high infant mortality rate in the region. No intervention was given in the control group while both father-mother pairs in the intervention group received nutrition education on breastfeeding. The study participants were followed up until the children birthed reach 3 months of age.
Results: At 97.1%, initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth was significantly higher among the intervention group compared to 52.1% in the control group (p<0.001). Likewise, at 81.1%, sustained exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months was significantly higher among the intervention group compared to 63.4% in the control group (p=0.001).
Conclusion: The intervention positively impacted on early initiation and sustenance of exclusive breasting in the first 3 months of life. Nutrition education at the health facility or community level should involve fathers as key influencers of the breastfeeding process, which contributes to improved infant feeding practices.Author(s): Lynette Aoko Dinga, Beatrice Nyanchama Kiage-Mokua, Florence Kyallo