Beliefs, attitudes, and practices of breastfeeding mothers from a peri-urban community in South Africa
The aim of this study was to document the breastfeeding practices, beliefs, and attitudes of periurban South African lactating mothers with infants younger than 6 months. None of the mothers (n = 115, mean age 26 plus minus 6.3 years) reported exclusively breastfeeding their infants, with complementary breastfeeding being the most practiced (78%) feeding mode. Complementary foods were fed to 32% of infants by their first month of life. Perceived inadequate production of breast milk was the most common (90%) reason cited for adding foods and liquids to breastfeeds. Mothers valued use of traditional herbal preparations (muthi), with more then half (56%) of the infants having received their first dose of muthi before 1 month of age. Our study provides important data on breastfeeding practices of women living within resource-poor settings. Development of successful infant-feeding interventions aimed at promoting overall infant health can benefit from knowledge of these breastfeeding patterns.