Perception and Practices of Complementary Feeding among Infants’ Mothers in Southwestern Nigeria: A Qualitative Study

  • Afolabi Kolade Afolayan Medical and Health Services, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
  • Afolabi Adebukunola Olajumoke Clinical Nursing Services, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife.
Keywords: Mothers’ perception; Complementary foods; Complementary feeding; Nigeria


Background: Malnutrition resulting from inappropriate and ineffective childhood feeding remains a significant public health concern especially in developing countries, where poor child feeding practices exert serious negative impact on health outcomes. This qualitative study explored mothers’ perception about complementary feeding, mothers’ hygiene and food safety measures, food storage, and preparation and food handling practices.

Methods: This study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey, conducted in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs), Southwestern Nigeria in November, 2019. Four sessions of Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were conducted in each of four selected LGAs giving a total of sixteen sessions with eight discussants selected for each session of FGD giving a total of 128 discussants. The discussants were selected by multistage sampling technique. FGD guide was used to explore mothers’ perception about complementary feeding, complementary feeding practices, and associated factors. Responses were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed using Nvivo 11 software.

Results: Five themes were developed from FGD responses, including mothers’ perception about complementary feeding, hygiene practices, food storage, safety, food preparation, and food handling. Mothers’ age, parity, educational status, employment status, family income, and food availability and affordability affected mothers’ perception about complementary feeding and complementary feeding practices.

Conclusion: Advocacy on infants’ feeding must take cognizance of the finding factors towards appropriate, effective childhood feeding in addition to reduction in malnutrition and related burden.