COMPLEMENTARY FEEDING PRACTICES: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY ON THE PERSPECTIVES OF FIRST-TIME MOTHERS IN THE EFFUTU MUNICIPALITY OF GHANA

Janet Agyarkwaa Oti, Theresa Alexandra Amu

Abstract


An important step in reducing infants’ risk of being malnourished, contracting infectious diseases and their accompanying mortalities is to gain an understanding of the experiences of mothers’ complementary feeding practices. While research exists on complementary feeding practices, limited research is documented on complementary feeding experiences of first-time mothers in Ghana with no evidence from the Effutu Municipality. In view of this lacuna in literature, this study investigated the lived experiences of first-time mothers on the initiation of complementary feeding in the Effutu Municipality using Social Constructivism as a theoretical foundation. The phenomenological research design within the interpretivism paradigm was followed in the conduct of the study where 12 first-time mothers were sampled through purposive and convenience sampling techniques with the main instrument being a semi-structured interview guide. After meeting the trustworthiness criteria, thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The findings of the study revealed that first-time mothers initiated complementary feeding before the recommended period of six months. Besides, foods used in initiating complementary feeding were mostly cereal-based which is known to be deficient in other vital nutrients such as iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B6 required and recommended for the healthy development of the child. The findings on experiences of first-time mothers towards complementary feeding indicated that they were inadequately prepared to initiate complementary feeding. Based on these results, it was recommended that the municipal health directorate should organize health promotion programmes to assist first-time mothers to better understand complementary feeding with its accompanying positive consequences of improving child growth and development.

 

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complementary feeding, first-time mothers, infants

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejphs.v5i1.110

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