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Sociocultural factors influencing breastfeeding practices in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya

Sociocultural factors influencing breastfeeding practices in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya
Sociocultural factors influencing breastfeeding practices in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya

BACKGROUND: Despite numerous interventions promoting optimal breastfeeding practices in Kenya, pockets of suboptimal breastfeeding practices are documented in Kenya's urban slums. This paper describes cultural and social beliefs and practices that influence breastfeeding in two urban slums in Nairobi, Kenya.

METHODS: Qualitative data were collected in Korogocho and Viwandani slums through 10 focus group discussions and 19 in-depth interviews with pregnant, breastfeeding women and community health volunteers and 11 key-informant interviews with community leaders. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, coded in NVIVO and analyzed thematically.

RESULTS: Social and cultural beliefs and practices that result to suboptimal breastfeeding practices were highlighted including; considering colostrum as 'dirty' or 'curdled milk', a curse 'bad omen' associated with breastfeeding while engaging in extra marital affairs, a fear of the 'evil eye' (malevolent glare which is believed to be a curse associated with witchcraft) when breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding being associated with sagging breasts. Positive social and cultural beliefs were also identified including the association of breast milk with intellectual development and good child health. The beliefs and practices were learnt mainly from spouses, close relatives and peers.

CONCLUSION: Interventions promoting behavior change with regards to breastfeeding should focus on dispelling the beliefs and practices that result to suboptimal breastfeeding practices and to build on the positive ones, while involving spouses and other family members as they are important sources of information on breastfeeding.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN83692672: December 2013 (retrospectively registered).

Journal Article
1746-4358
Wanjohi, Milka
80cca192-0081-49a9-8fbe-7be9abd7ab3c
Griffiths, Paula
1e42c8d2-e67f-4825-a800-9721d427e8c7
Wekesah, Frederick
1c1a5b85-2bd6-4517-8443-45337bff07bd
Muriuki, Peter
0e9d8ebf-45c6-4d79-abc0-fa9958e2bccb
Muhia, Nelson
d359e6a5-441e-4926-8fd5-8c88dfb192f8
Musoke, Rachel N
b843cc2b-e941-4414-86f4-1defa22f6af0
Fouts, Hillary N.
962fed38-d1fb-4afc-8d16-2eaf430571d5
Madise, Nyovani J.
2ea2fbcc-50da-4696-a0a5-2fe01db63d8c
Kimani-Murage, Elizabeth W.
73f3761e-52a4-4356-bca5-8931097b7234
Wanjohi, Milka
80cca192-0081-49a9-8fbe-7be9abd7ab3c
Griffiths, Paula
1e42c8d2-e67f-4825-a800-9721d427e8c7
Wekesah, Frederick
1c1a5b85-2bd6-4517-8443-45337bff07bd
Muriuki, Peter
0e9d8ebf-45c6-4d79-abc0-fa9958e2bccb
Muhia, Nelson
d359e6a5-441e-4926-8fd5-8c88dfb192f8
Musoke, Rachel N
b843cc2b-e941-4414-86f4-1defa22f6af0
Fouts, Hillary N.
962fed38-d1fb-4afc-8d16-2eaf430571d5
Madise, Nyovani J.
2ea2fbcc-50da-4696-a0a5-2fe01db63d8c
Kimani-Murage, Elizabeth W.
73f3761e-52a4-4356-bca5-8931097b7234

Wanjohi, Milka, Griffiths, Paula, Wekesah, Frederick, Muriuki, Peter, Muhia, Nelson, Musoke, Rachel N, Fouts, Hillary N., Madise, Nyovani J. and Kimani-Murage, Elizabeth W. (2017) Sociocultural factors influencing breastfeeding practices in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya. International Breastfeeding Journal, 12 (5). (doi:10.1186/s13006-016-0092-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite numerous interventions promoting optimal breastfeeding practices in Kenya, pockets of suboptimal breastfeeding practices are documented in Kenya's urban slums. This paper describes cultural and social beliefs and practices that influence breastfeeding in two urban slums in Nairobi, Kenya.

METHODS: Qualitative data were collected in Korogocho and Viwandani slums through 10 focus group discussions and 19 in-depth interviews with pregnant, breastfeeding women and community health volunteers and 11 key-informant interviews with community leaders. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, coded in NVIVO and analyzed thematically.

RESULTS: Social and cultural beliefs and practices that result to suboptimal breastfeeding practices were highlighted including; considering colostrum as 'dirty' or 'curdled milk', a curse 'bad omen' associated with breastfeeding while engaging in extra marital affairs, a fear of the 'evil eye' (malevolent glare which is believed to be a curse associated with witchcraft) when breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding being associated with sagging breasts. Positive social and cultural beliefs were also identified including the association of breast milk with intellectual development and good child health. The beliefs and practices were learnt mainly from spouses, close relatives and peers.

CONCLUSION: Interventions promoting behavior change with regards to breastfeeding should focus on dispelling the beliefs and practices that result to suboptimal breastfeeding practices and to build on the positive ones, while involving spouses and other family members as they are important sources of information on breastfeeding.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN83692672: December 2013 (retrospectively registered).

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 December 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 January 2017
Keywords: Journal Article

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413280
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413280
ISSN: 1746-4358
PURE UUID: 396aeabe-1bd1-42da-9e7a-d1de609ceb82
ORCID for Nyovani J. Madise: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2813-5295

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Date deposited: 18 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 06 Oct 2020 18:11

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