Feeding practices in late infancy in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
Background: Whereas considerable insight has been gained and progress made in optimum feeding in early infant feeding same cannot be said with nutrition in late infancy. Tacking challenges associated with nutrition in late infancy demands that extant practices and their shortcomings are exposed.
Objectives: To evaluate and document practices regarding feeding in late infancy in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Methods: Using a communitybased household survey involving three representative political wards in Egor Local Government Area of Benin City, feeding practices in late infancy were evaluated using a mix of structured and non-structured, pre-tested questionnaires on 522 mothers of infants aged >6months to 11 months. This was done between June and September, 2009.
Results: The age range of mothers was 17-48 years. Diverse ethnic groups were represented with the Binis constituting the largest (48.6%). Bottle feeding rate (BOTFR) was 2.55% and Bottle feeding practice was unassociated with maternal occupation (χ2 = 2.741; p=0.740) and family socioeconomic status (χ2=10.145; p=0.930). Timely complimentary feeding rate (TCFR) was very high (92.7%). Delayed introduction of complimentary feeding was very low (3.6%). Maize gruel (pap) was the commonest (76.6%) complementary food utilized and commonly (99.5%) this was enriched with a variety of other items with milk as the commonest item used. Fish was the commonest (41.0%) animal product used as complimentary food. Use of animal feeds was however generally low and their use was uninfluenced by family socio-economic status (χ2 = 5.424, p=0.066).
Conclusions/Recommendations: Bottle feeding rate remains unacceptably high even into late infancy. Factors fostering this should be exposed and tackled because of the dangers inherent in the practice. Timely complimentary feeding practice is encouraging and needs to be supported and sustained for its benefits.
Key Words: Nutrition, Late, Infancy, Complimentary feeding, Benin City.