Assessment of Mothers’ Compliance with National Infant and Young Child Feeding Recommendations amongst Children Aged 0-24 Months in Nakuru Municipality, Kenya
Kamau, Anne Njeri
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Optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) is the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended way of feeding children. There is a lot that has been done on IYCF but there still remains a dearth of information in areas related to the application of IYCF recommendations in various regions. In the nations all around the globe, national IYCF recommendations and programs are in place. However, various studies reveal low incidences of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF); a major indicator of IYCF. It implies non- compliance to the national guidelines on IYCF amongst the mothers. This study was designed to assess the mothers „compliance with IYCF recommendations amongst mothers with infants aged 0-24 months in Nakuru Municipality. The study was carried out in five health facilities. The objectives were to establish the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of mothers, to establish the mothers‟ level of knowledge on IYCF recommendations, to establish the mothers‟ prior plan, sources of information, popular culture, prior teenage exposure to breastfeeding mother and support for IYCF, to establish the mothers‟ IYCF practices and to establish the mothers‟ level of compliance with IYCF recommendations. The study involved the administration of interview questionnaire adopted from the WHO questionnaire on the 24 hour recall food diversity. Nine research assistants were trained prior the exercise to collect data from 377 mothers with children aged 0-24 months. The findings indicated that 37.9% of the mothers were 25-29 years, 86% were married, 37% had attained secondary education and 40.6% were housewives. Over half (57%) of the children in the mother-child pair were aged 7-24 months while 62.1% were subsequent birth (second to seventh) with only 37.9% being firstborn. Mothers‟ knowledge on IYCF recommendation was good (66%) and indicated areas requiring strengthening as the insufficient breast milk management and the frequency of complementary meals during the transition period from breast milk to solids, semi-solid and soft food. Mothers‟ IYCF practice was predominantly early introduction of solids, semi-solid and soft food as early as 2 months. Almost half (49.6%) of mothers‟ had prior plan 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 sources of reassurance (support) on mothers‟ IYCF practice was by the community health nurse (46.4%). The mothers‟ level of compliance with IYCF recommendation was 55%. The study recommends that; IYCF information should be targeted to all mothers irrespective of neither demographic nor socioeconomic variables at HF by the CHN. Dissemination of information by health workers should emphasize on IYCF aspect of complementary feeding and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond when giving IYCF information to mothers. The policy makers should come up with strategies of building capacity to increase the community health nurse efforts of supporting IYCF. The policy makers need to come up with IYCF policies that would reach the mothers in the community with practical IYCF intervention. County Health System to ensure the CHEW monitor and evaluate of IYCF compliance at family level.