A descriptive study of demographic and socio-economic factors influencing infant feeding practices in the Amathola district, South Africa
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The aim of this study was to describe the demographic and socio-economic factors influencing infant feeding practices in the Amathola district, South Africa. A survey was chosen as the design method and a structured questionnaire was used to collect information regarding the socio-economic and demographic factors and related infant feeding choices. The study population consisted of 100 women with infants up to the age of 14 weeks, who brought their infant for immunization at the selected community health clinic (the largest clinic in the Mdantsane area). Infants up to the age of 14 weeks were used because all the visits up to 14 weeks coincide with the local immunization program, and according to WHO guidelines all infants should be exclusively breastfed until they reach the age of 6 months of age. The study found that there are many families in the Mdantsane area that suffer from poor conditions and inadequate services such as a lack of electricity, working taps or flush toilets within their dwelling, which in turn has an impact on infant feeding practices. It was found that even in poor demographic and socio-economic conditions, formula feeding is still the chosen feeding practice for the majority of mothers.