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Background. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of an infant’s life is the recommended gold standard for infant feeding; however, mixed feeding (MF) is common in various settings. In South Africa (SA), especially in the Tlokwe subdistrict of North West Province, there is little information on the association between sociodemographic factors and infant MF practices.
Objective. To identify the sociodemographic factors associated with MF practices in a cohort of mothers of infants aged 4 - 14 weeks in the Tlokwe subdistrict of North West.
Methods. The study setting was 8 health facilities in the Tlokwe subdistrict. Participants comprised postpartum women with infants aged 4 - 14 weeks. Data analysis used SPSS version 25.0. Normal data are presented as means (standard deviation (SD)), skewed data as median values (25th, 75th percentiles) and categorical values as percentages and frequencies. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analysed the association between sociodemographic factors and MF practices at time point 2 (10 - 14 weeks).
Results. The majority of the mothers were aged between 25 and 29 years, and 37% had at least 2 live children. MF increased with infant age. There was no significant association between any of the sociodemographic variables and MF practices. Logistic regression analysis showed a significant association between increased parity and MF. There was also a significant association between changes in infantfeeding practices after receiving the child support grant at 10 - 14 weeks.
Conclusion. The high proportion of mothers who mixed-fed indicates that it is still the norm, as in other SA contexts. Therefore, strengthened breastfeeding education regarding appropriate infant-feeding choices in the promotion of infant development and survival for the short and long term should be emphasised.