The influence of prior plan, sources of information, popular culture and past teenage exposure on mothers’ optimal infant feeding practices in Nakuru municipality, Kenya
Kamau Anne Njeri
In Kenya, the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) recommendations states that mothers should initiation breastfeeding within one hour of birth, EBF for six months, continue breastfeeding for two years and beyond meanwhile introduce solids, semi-solids and soft food at six months; that meals frequency and food diversity be done as for appropriate age. Unfortunately, a number of factors influence mothers’ compliance with these recommendations. Therefore, the study sought evaluated the levels of compliance with IYCF recommendations amongst mothers with infants aged 0-24 months in Nakuru Municipality. This paper discusses the findings on the influence of mothers’ prior plan, sources of information, popular culture, prior teenage exposure to breastfeeding mother and support for IYCF on mothers’ infant and child feeding behaviours. The data was collected using an interview questionnaire adapted from the WHO questionnaire on the 24 hour recall food diversity. Nine research assistants were trained and used to collect data from 377 mothers with children aged 0-24 months. Almost half (49.6%) of the mothers had prior plans for exclusive breastfeeding for six months. However, only 14.2% carried through their plan. The main sources of IYCF information was the media (radio and television) by 39.3%, a large majority (95.5%) of the mothers had prior teenage breastfeeding exposure to witnessing a mother frequently breastfeed. The popular culture of IYCF was early (0-3 months) introduction of solids, semi-solids and soft foods (39%). The main source of reassurance (support) on mothers’ IYCF practice was by the community health nurse (46.4%). Following these findings, the study recommended that policy makers should come up with strategies of building capacity to increase the community health nurse efforts of supporting IYCF.