n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Breastfeeding and complementary feeding patterns in Namibia - research

Volume 21 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055



Breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices have significant implications for the child health status. In Namibia, the Maternal and Child Health programme has teamed up with the WHO and UNICEF to improve feeding practices of infants and young children. The main objective of this paper is to examine practices of breastfeeding and complementary feeding among mothers with infants and young children aged 0–24 months. The paper focuses on examining the period of breastfeeding cessation by mothers and the time of the introduction of complementary foods. Information was obtained from 9 176 mothers of 16 237 infants and young children aged 0–24 months interviewed during the 2013 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey. A survival analysis was used to explore the effects of different variables on the time course of breastfeeding. Although breastfeeding initiation is quite high, most mothers do not continue to breastfeed to 24 months. Among children aged between 0 and 24 months, only 28.2 per cent were still breastfed, and continued breastfeeding is lowly practiced with only 6.1 per cent of children between 20 and 24 months still breastfed. A significant proportion of infants were introduced to solid foods before the recommended age of six months with 31.3 per cent given some solid foods. Developing a breastfeeding culture that involves increasing the duration of maternity leave for working mothers should be considered.

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