Rachael I Kwerengwe, Karuna Singh
School of Allied Health Sciences, Sharda University, Greater Noida 201306, India
Improper young child and infant feeding practices are key to malnourishment, associated with high rates of mortality during childhood. The World Health Organization proposes the initiation of breastmilk within the first hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for six months and the commencement of complementary feeding after six months. Complementary feeding involves the introduction of highly nutritious food that will cover the gap created when breastmilk becomes insufficient to cater for the child’s nutritional needs. Complementary feeding practices directly affect the nutritional status of the child; hence there is a need to explore the factors associated with complementary feeding practices. The main objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of mothers regarding complementary feeding and its impact on the nutritional status of children. This study was a cross-sectional study which recruited 200 mothers and 200 children using a convenience sampling technique. Data was collected using a KAP questionnaire. Data analysis was done using Microsoft Excel for frequency and percentage. For statistical analysis, Spearman’s rank correlation was used to find associations between variables. The results showed that the mothers had average knowledge and practice and a good attitude on complementary feeding. Statistical analysis showed a significant positive correlation between the mother’s education status, monthly family income, mother’s knowledge and the nutritional status of children. A positive non-significant association was also observed between the mother’s attitude, practice and nutritional status of children. A high prevalence of malnutrition was observed in the study as a result of insufficient levels of knowledge, attitude and practice of mothers regarding complementary feeding. The low education status of the mother and low family monthly income also contributed to high levels of malnourishment in the study.
Keywords: Complementary feeding, malnutrition, nutritional status, knowledge, attitude, practice, feeding practices