Infant feeding practices among HIV infected women receiving prevention of mother-to-child transmission services at Kitale District Hospital, Kenya.East Afr Med J 2008; 85(4):156-61EA
To determine the types and modes of infant feeding practices among the HIV infected mothers on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and attending MCH-FP clinic at Kitale District Hospital, Kenya.
Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Kitale District Hospital in Western Kenya within the maternal and child health and family planning (MCH-FP) and comprehensive care clinics.
A total of 146 respondents who had delivered 150 babies were recruited for this study.
Thirty five percent (52/150) of the babies were exclusively breastfed while 50% (75/150) were not breastfed at all and 14% (21/150) of the babies received mixed feeding. The length of exclusive breastfeeding ranged from 1-6 months with most (53%) women exclusively breastfeeding for two to three months. Only 13% of the women exclusively breastfed for five to six months. There was a strong relationship between mode of infant feeding and spouse's awareness of HIV status. Mothers who had disclosed their HIV status to their spouses were more likely not to breastfeed than mothers who had not disclosed their status (p < 0.05%). The choice of infant feeding method was also influenced by the socio-economic status of the mothers and nevirapine uptake. The level of education did not influence the mode of infant feeding.
Infant feeding decisions were mainly influenced by the male partner's involvement and the socio economic status of the mother. Half of the respondents did not breastfeed at all. The duration of exclusive breastfeeding rarely reached six months. To encourage women to adhere to good infant feeding practices, involvement of their partners, family members as well as the community for support should be encouraged.