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After giving birth to a baby, breastfeeding becomes your responsibility: Infant feeding perceptions and practices among women in Yaoundé, Bamenda and Bandja, Cameroon, Africa
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1828-6831
Centre for Food and Nutritional Research, Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plant Studies, Yaounde, Cameroon.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5023-4273
Department of Food and Nutrition, Umeå University, Umeå.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Umeå University, Umeå.
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2018 (English)In: International Research Journal of Public and Environmental Health, ISSN 2360-8803, Vol. 5, no 3, p. 38-45Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon advises mothers to follow the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life and to continue breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years or beyond. Despite these recommendations, malnutrition due to inadequate feeding practices is still prevalent in Cameroon. Therefore, this study aims to explore infant feeding perceptions and identify factors influencing infant feeding practices in Cameroon. Forty-nine women aged 19 to 38 who had infants aged 6 days to 15 months were purposively selected from hospitals during the vaccination days and interviewed until saturation. The research tools included six qualitative group interviews, with each group comprising 6 to 10 women. The study was conducted in the rural area of Bandja and the urban areas of Yaoundé and Bamenda. Data were analysed using content analysis. In the study, breastfeeding was agreed upon as the best way to feed infants and was commonly practised for 1 to 2 years. Nevertheless, few infants were breastfed exclusively. Complementary foods were often nutritionally inadequate; many children were not given fruit, vegetables or foods of animal origin on a daily basis. Cultural beliefs, tradition, community norms and low educational and economic levels negatively influenced the implementation of appropriate infant feeding recommendations. The short duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the poor food diversity are the main problems. In response, it is necessary to strengthen the position of women, increase the period of maternal leave, introduce sustainable and practical education for both parents about breastfeeding, and provide good, local complementary foods. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 5, no 3, p. 38-45
Keyword [en]
Exclusive breastfeeding, malnutrition, feeding perceptions, Cameroon
National Category
Nutrition and Dietetics
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work; Health and Caring Sciences; Natural Science, Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-72017DOI: 10.15739/irjpeh.18.007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-72017DiVA, id: diva2:1194292
Available from: 2018-03-30 Created: 2018-03-30 Last updated: 2018-03-30

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Dapi Nzefa, Léonie

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