Young mothers, first time parenthood and exclusive breastfeeding in Kenya

  • V Naanyu
Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, Young mothers, First time parenthood, Breastfeeding difficulties, Kenya


Breastfeeding behaviour is explored in Kenya using data collected in the town of Eldoret, Kenya. This paper specifically examines duration of exclusive breastfeeding among young mothers below 20 years of age as compared to older cohorts. Additionally, focus is laid on the
effect of first time motherhood and breastfeeding difficulties on exclusive breastfeeding. Results show that Eldoret mothers are aware of benefits of breastfeeding; nevertheless, the mean duration for exclusive breastfeeding in this sample is 2.4 months. Higher durations of exclusive breastfeeding are associated with increasing age and first time motherhood. Predictably, breastfeeding difficulties bear a negative association with exclusive breastfeeding. While HIV is transmissible through breastfeeding, breast milk remains a vital source of nourishment for infants in Sub-Saharan Africa. More research on mothering should examine the changing socio-economic milieu and its influence on women’s infant feeding decisions (Afr J Reprod Health 2008; 12[3]:125-138).

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1118-4841