Original Research

Exploratory study on factors influencing the introduction of complementary feeding amongst caregivers of children between 6 and 24 months of age in Polokwane, Limpopo province

Mabitsela H. Mphasha, Gerald Mokubela, Thendo Ramokotedi, Thapelo Kgari
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 1| a5522 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5522 | © 2023 Mabitsela H. Mphasha, Gerald Mokubela, Thendo Ramokotedi, Thapelo Kgari | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 February 2022 | Published: 20 February 2023

About the author(s)

Mabitsela H. Mphasha, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Healthcare Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Gerald Mokubela, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Healthcare Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Thendo Ramokotedi, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Healthcare Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Thapelo Kgari, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Healthcare Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Complementary feeding should be introduced at six months to meet infants’ growing nutritional needs. Inappropriate complementary feeding poses threats to the health, development and survival of infants. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to good nutrition. Caregivers should ensure that infants are fed properly. Factors such as knowledge, affordability and availability impact complementary feeding. Hence, this study explores factors influencing complementary feeding amongst caregivers of children between the age of six and 24 months in Polokwane, Limpopo province, South Africa.

Methods: A qualitative phenomenological exploratory study design was used to collect data from 25 caregivers, using purposive sampling; the sampling size was dependent on data saturation. Data were collected through one-on-one interviews using voice recorders and field notes for non-verbal cues. Data were analysed using the eight steps of Tesch’s inductive, descriptive and open coding technique.

Results: Participants had knowledge about when and what to introduce during complementary feeding. Participants alluded that availability and affordability, maternal beliefs about infant hunger cues, social media, attitudes, returning to work because of the end of maternity leave and painful breasts affect complementary feeding.

Conclusion: Caregivers introduce early complementary feeding because of returning to work at the end of maternity leave and painful breasts. Additionally, factors such as knowledge about complementary feeding, availability and affordability, mother’s beliefs about child hunger cues, social media and attitudes influence complementary feeding.

Contribution: There is a need to establish credible social media platforms to disseminate appropriate complementary feeding messages. The established credible social media platforms must be promoted, and caregivers must be referred from time to time.

 


Keywords

complementary feeding; factors; caregivers; children; social media

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