Maintenance of the selected infant feeding methods amongst postnatal mothers at risk of HIV in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

  • EM Yako
  • NPB Nzama


The focus of this study was to explore and describe influences on decision making related to infant feeding methods in the context of HIV and AIDS. Study objectives were: (1) to explore and describe the influences on decision making related to infant feeding methods selected by the mother during the antenatal period and (2) to describe the reasons related to a change in infant feeding method in the postnatal period. This cross-sectional study used the quantitative approach and a descriptive design. A convenience sample of 60 mothers in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme participated in this study. Data were collected
six weeks post-delivery and analysed using SPSS 17.0 software for Windows. The mean age of the mothers was 26.5 years, range 19 to 41 years (SD 5.3). At six weeks 73% (n = 44) of the mothers maintained the infant feeding method selected antenatally and 27% (n = 16) had changed methods. Using a Chi-square test, the difference between groups was significant (x2 [df 1] = 19, p < 0.000). Every HIV-positive mother (100%, n = 28) continued with the method selected antenatally, compared with 50% (n = 16) of all HIV-negative mothers (n = 32). The reasons for deciding to change methods included going back to school or work; illness of babies; painful breasts; and advice from significant others. Most mothers maintained the feeding methods selected antenatally. HIV-positive mothers were more likely to adhere to the initial decisions made antenatally than HIV-negative mothers.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848