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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5374
Vol. 14, No. 4, 2014, pp. 9085-9103
Bioline Code: nd14045
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2014, pp. 9085-9103

Ssemukasa, E.L. & Kearney, J.


The first 2 years of life provide a critical window of opportunity for ensuring children’s appropriate growth and development through optimal feeding. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of weaning practices in Wakiso district. Wakiso is a district in central Uganda that encircles Kampala, Uganda\'s capital city. The district is named after the town of Wakiso, where the district headquarters are located. A descriptive survey to evaluate infant weaning practices was conducted at Nsanji Health Centre III, Wakiso district from July through October 2011. Mothers with no established HIV/AIDS positive status aged 15 years and above, with last born-child aged 1-23 months, willing to provide data on the infant´s feeding practices and regular attendants for infant vaccination schedules on Tuesday at the same facility were targeted. The mother-infant pairs were systematically selected for participation in the study based on the number of mothers together with their infants present every Tuesday morning of each week, for vaccinations at the health centre since the health centre had no database for the breastfeeding mothers. A structured questionnaire focusing on breastfeeding practices, complementary feeding practices, mineral supplementation and fluids administration, child’s state of wellbeing in first year of life, mothers’ age and parity was administered. A total of 204 mother-infant pairs were analysed. Overall, 94% of 204 infants who participated in the study had not been exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Only one of the 124 infants between 0- 6 months of age and 5.9% of the 80 infants over 6 months of age were still exclusively breastfeeding at the time of the survey. Complementary foods were introduced earlier than recommended with 22% of the mothers introducing solid foods before 1 month, 14% at 1-3 months and 6% at 4-6 months. Family members (p = 0.001) were a significant source of information on when to start feeding infants solid foods. In conclusion, the low exclusive breastfeeding rates, the early introduction of complementary foods and cow milk and the late introduction of red meat into the infant diets may well be responsible for the high level of infant infections recorded in the first year of infancy. Therefore, a nutritional education intervention, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, highlighting the health and food safety risks associated with the early introduction of cow milk into the infant diets could help reduce the high levels of infant infections and mortality in Uganda.

Exclusive breastfeeding; Complementary feeding practices

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