Maternal Knowledge and Complementary Feeding Practices and Their Relationship with Nutritional Status Among Children 6-23 Months Old In Pastoral Community of Marsabit County, Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Study
Mutuku, Joyce Nzilani
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Appropriate complementary feeding practices have positive impact on health and growth of children aged 6-23 months. Little is known about complementary feeding practices among the pastoralists. The aim of this study was to document the influence of maternal knowledge on child feeding and complementary practices on the nutritional status of children aged 6-23 months amongst a pastoral community in Kenya. A WHO standard validated questionnaire was used to collect data from 289 randomly selected mothers/ primary caregivers and their children aged 6-23 months. The interviews were conducted through face-to-face in a one-time household visit. The findings showed that half (50.2%) of the children received complementary foods at the age of six months. The proportion of breastfed and non-breastfed children that achieved the recommended Minimum Meal Frequency (MMF) was 28.7% and 2.6% respectively. About one-quarter (23.9%) achieved the recommended Minimum Dietary Diversity (MDD). A total of 5.9% achieved the Minimum Acceptable Diet (MAD). Majority of the mothers/caregivers (95.1%) knew that children should be encouraged to feed while 61.6% knew that children should be fed more frequently during and after illness. The timing of introduction of complementary feeding ([OR]=0.307, P=0.001) and child’s dietary diversity ([OR]=3.112, P=0.020 were predictors of wasting among the children while timing of introduction of complementary feeding ([OR]=0.226, P=0.000) and maternal knowledge on the duration of breastfeeding ([OR]=6.359, P=0.012) predicted child underweight. Complementary feeding practices are not optimal and the nutritional status of the children is poor. Complementary feeding practices predicted child nutritional status whereas maternal/caregivers’ knowledge on complementary feeding practices had limited impact on child nutrition status.