Weaning practices of mothers / childminders whose babies are between the ages of six to nine months attending clinics in the inner city in Johannesburg
Tjale, Adele Agatha
The main aim of this study was to describe the weaning practices of women resident in the inner city of Johannesburg, whose children are between the ages o f six to nine months. It was intended to explore the factors that influence the choices for feeding practices. The inner city of Johannesburg was selected as a study area because in 1986, the influx control laws were abolished in South Africa and this paved a way for large numbers of black, coloured and Indian people to migrate to the urban areas. The environmental state of the inner city and the Hillbrow area has been progressively deteriorating to almost a slum because of high population density and overcrowding. The high unemployment rate and economical uncertainty in some African states have caused a wave of illegal immigrant to flood the inner city in search of better life. A descriptive study was conducted on ninety nine mothers/ childminders attending child health care clinics in the inner city. Three clinics in the inner city were sampled for the purposes of this study. A structured interview schedule was administered to mothers or childminoers whose children were between the ages of six to nine months. Results of the study revealed that breastfeeding is initiated by most women at birth. By four months only twenty five percent of women were exclusively breastfeeding. Early weaning was associated with poor quantity and poor quality of breast milk. Partial breastfeeding is practised and women use a variety of milk formulas to substitute breast milk. Analysis of factors that might have influenced the early supplementation, women (20.7%) indicated that dissatisfaction with milk insufficiency was the reason for stopping breast feeds. Only two women h^d stopped breast feeds because they were returning to work. Infant crying is interpreted as a signal for hunger. The information given by women on appropriate time of introducing solids differs from that of health professionals.