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Feeding patterns and growth of term infants in Eldoret, Kenya.



There are limited longitudinal data from developing countries on early infant feeding and growth patterns. In Kenya only 34.8% of infants are exclusively breastfed at 2 months. This finding is of concern, and further understanding of infant feeding and growth patterns is important.


To determine the feeding and growth patterns of Kenyan term infants during early infancy.


A longitudinal study was conducted. One hundred and fifty-one resource-constrained mother-infant pairs were recruited from the West Municipal Health Centre (WMHC) within 24 hours after birth, and subsequent follow-up was performed at the WMHC Maternal and Child Health Clinic. Data on baseline characteristics were collected with the use of a structured questionnaire. Data on nonbreastmilk liquids given to the infants and feeding patterns were gathered with the use of a 24-hour recall. Standard procedures were used to measure infant weight, recumbent length, and head circumference. World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards were used, and tests for variation between and within group means were performed, with alpha < .05 regarded as indicating significance.


At 6 and 10 weeks, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 40.4% and 9.9%, respectively. The mothers cited "aids infant's digestion" (38%) as the main reason for partial breastfeeding and "breastmilk was not enough" (48%) as the main reason for predominant breastfeeding. Growth velocity based on weight was similar to that in the WHO reference group. All of the children had normal growth (z-score > -2). Mothers without knowledge about WHO/UNICEF early infant feeding recommendations and those who initiated breastfeeding more than 1 hour post partum were ninefold and eightfold more likely to start mixed feeding by 10 weeks of age, respectively.


There is a need to accelerate awareness of optimum infant feeding recommendations and augment the rigorous practice of the WHO Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.


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  • Authors+Show Affiliations


    Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.



    Food and nutrition bulletin 32:4 2011 Dec pg 307-14


    Breast Feeding
    Child Development
    Developing Countries
    Feeding Methods
    Health Promotion
    Infant, Newborn
    Longitudinal Studies
    Maternal-Child Health Centers
    Poverty Areas
    Practice Guidelines as Topic
    Urban Health
    Weight Gain
    World Health Organization
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article



    PubMed ID