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A Study on the Factors Affecting the Infant Feeding Practices
Of Mothers in Las Piñas City
By [Author], University of the Philippines
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Abstract [Abstract here]
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Introduction The melamine controversy that erupted during the last quarter of year 2008 brought people’s attention back to the debates between breastfeeding and the use of breast milk substitutes like commercial infant formula. This wasn’t the first time that infant formula had caused illnesses and even deaths to infants worldwide - hence the continuous campaign of World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF along with other breastfeeding advocates, for mothers to breastfeed their children at least until 6 months of age. Infant feeding practices refer generally to meet the nutritional and immunological needs of the baby. A study of infant feeding practices was carried out on a sample of 100 mother and infant pairs. The results revealed that only 20% of mothers in the study currently exclusively breastfeed their babies. It also shows that socio-economic factors like mother’s work status, marital status and educational attainment had direct bearing on these practices. Employed mothers tend to cease from breastfeeding their babies and eventually stop and just resort to formula feeding as they go back to work. The study also showed that mothers who are married and living with their partners are more likely to breastfeed their infants than single mothers. Those with higher educational attainment resort more to formula feeding and mixed feeding than those with lower educational attainment. Health care professionals influence mothers the most when it comes to infant feeding decisions. Methodology Type of Research The type of research that will be used in this study is qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The discipline investigates the “why" and “how" of decision making. Besides this, the researcher will also examine the phenomenon through observations in numerical representations and through statistical analysis. Along with questionnaires that will be given out to respondents for the statistical representation of the findings in the study, interviews with the respondents and a few experts in this field will also be conducted. Sampling Method The research sampling method that will be used in this study is random sampling to obtain a more scientific result that could be used to represent the entirety of the population. A list of all health care facilities (maternity and lying-in clinics, public and private hospitals, health centers) was acquired from the Las Piñas City Hall. From 20 barangays, 3 will be picked through random sampling. The health care facilities and institutions in these three barangays will then be the target sources of respondents of the researcher. The health care facilities and institutions will be contacted to obtain a verbal consent to administer the questionnaire to mothers at their places. A letter of consent will also be sent to them along with a sample copy of the questionnaire that will be used, as well as the protocol of the researcher. A letter was also addressed to the City Health Officer to obtain endorsement and consent to conduct a research in selected barangays and distribute questionnaires to the mothers in the vicinity. Data collection was conducted throughout the facilities‟ and health centers‟ operating hours from Mondays through Sundays in order to include both working and non-working mothers. Respondents The respondents in this research will all be coming from one single location - Las Piñas City, specifically the randomly selected barangays of Pamplona I, CAA/BF International and Pamplona III. The researcher chose Las Piñas City because of the socio-economic conditions present in the area that is relevant to the study and also as it fits the time frame and resources of the researcher. The randomly sampled respondents will be asked by the researcher for consent and approval to answer the questionnaire until the desired number of respondents which is 100 is reached. The opinion of experts will also be sought in this research to provide explanations regarding the respondents‟ infant feeding behaviors and practices. Questionnaire The questionnaire requires information about the socio-economic and demographic background of the mother. It also has questions related to previous infant feeding practices and the birth of her youngest infant and also regarding the baby’s general health and age. Statements that are perceived to be factors that influence mothers‟ infant feeding decisions were presented. The description of the type of infant formula given by formula and mixed feeding mothers will also be asked in the material. Conclusion Majority of the mothers formula feed their child and only a minority exclusively breastfeeds their children, especially as per recommendation of the World Health Organization. While majority of the mothers in this study showed a positive attitude towards breastfeeding, most of them decided only to formula feed due to the reasons of insufficient milk supply and work. Based on the results of the study, the educational attainment, work status, marital status, and seminars in the barangay the respondents are part of, about breastfeeding, are the significant factors that affect the infant feeding decision of mothers in Las Piñas City. Majority of the mothers that served as respondents in this study fall under the age range of 17-30 years old. More than half of them were also college graduates while a significant number are undergraduates and have only reached until high school. Most of the mothers are housewives and the others remaining have full-time jobs, part-time jobs and self-employed. A few of them are still students. While majority of them were married, a lot were still in a status of live-in and are single. More than half of the mothers did not have previous children before the current one. Majority of the respondents also have an annual gross household income that does not exceed P50,000. Among the several information sources namely, media through televisions/radios and printed/published materials, the social support system comprised of the mother’s family, friends and other relatives and health institutions, the mothers who give their babies infant formula are influenced the most by health care institutions through health professionals and other health care personnel. They influence the mothers in deciding to feed the baby with formula and in choosing, as well, which brand of formula is best for their babies. Mothers trust their baby’s doctor because of their expertise in the said field hence this kind of relation is achieved. Mothers were overall not concerned about the possible side effects of breastfeeding as a few were only worried as shown in the data presented. It can be concluded that numerous internal as well as external factors influence a mother in making infant feeding decisions, and a greater fraction of these is socio-economic in nature.
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