Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices among Pastoralist and Crop Farming Communities in Mvomero District, Tanzania

  • M.G. Kibona
  • A.W. Mwanri
Keywords: children, pastoralist, crop famers, feeding practices


This study aimed to determine feeding practices of infants and young children among pastoralist and crop farming communities in Mvomero district, Tanzania. A cross-sectional study involved mothers of children below two years of age, from crop farming (n=206) and pastoralist (n=142) communities. ProPAN research tools and procedures were adopted for data collection and analysis. Quantitative data were processed using ProPAN software and descriptive statistics, t-test and Chi-square test were done by SPSS version 21 software. Qualitative data were manually analyzed using the ProPAN matrices. Mean age of mothers (26 years) and of the studied children (12 months) were similar for pastoralists and crop farmers. About 35% (n=50) of pastoralist mothers had no formal education while 93% of the crop farming had at least attended primary school. High proportion of crop farmers (66.5%) initiated breastfeeding within one hour after delivery compared to about 35% in pastoralists. Pre-lacteal feeding was more common among pastoralists (37%) compared to crop farmers (22%). Early complementation was more common among pastoralists (87%) compared to crop farmers (48%). Limited knowledge on infant and young children’s nutritional needs, traditional beliefs and cultural restrictions were among the barriers to optimal infant and young child feeding practices. Awareness of mothers regarding the recommendations, and mother’s desire for their children to attain good health were the facilitators that enhanced mothers to comply with the recommended feeding practices. To promote optimum feeding practices in both communities, stakeholders should consider planning programs on educating community while addressing cultural specific barriers.

Keywords: children, pastoralist, crop famers, feeding practices


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