The current infant feeding practices and related factors of Indian and Zulu mothers with 0-9 month old infants attending well baby clinics in Durban-North.
Mkhize, Zanele Prudence.
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Background: Currently there are no studies that have been conducted regarding infant feeding practices for Indian mothers neither comparing Indian mothers with other race in South Africa. Thus, this may be the first study and further research may be conducted. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine and compare the infant feeding practices and factors influencing these practices of Indian and Zulu mothers with 0-9 month’s old infants attending well-baby clinics in Durban-North of the Ethekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal. Design: A descriptive cross-sectional survey of mothers was performed. Subjects and setting: Four hundred and fifty participants (50%) Indian and (50%) Zulu mothers with infants aged 0-9 months attending Tongaat community health centre, Verulam and Trenance Park Clinics were included in the study conducted between August and October 2016. Outcome measures: A data collection tool included four indicators: (1) socio-demographic characteristics; (2) infant feeding practices (3) mother’s knowledge, attitude, perception and beliefs regarding infant feeding as well as (4) resources that could influence infant feeding practices) which were measured and compared using Chi-square test and independent samples t-test. Results: High prevalence of breastfeeding immediately after delivery was reported by both groups of Indian (95.5%) and Zulu (90.1%) mothers. However, there was a statistically significant difference between race and food/liquids given to infants before six months of age. The exclusive breastfeeding rate was (37.8%) for Indian infants and (64%) for Zulu infants, by the age of six months. The majority of mothers on both groups decided on their own to feed infants other foods and/ or liquids. For Indian mothers, returning back to work was the main reason to feed infants something other than breast milk, whereas the Zulu mothers reported to feel that their infants were hungry. Overall, clinical staff were the predominant source of infant feeding information. Conclusion: This study confirmed that breastfeeding is a universal infant feeding practice. However, there are challenges that influence the practice of appropriate infant feeding.