Barriers to Breastfeeding Study

Kilifi County, Kenya

Suboptimal infant feeding contributes to 800,000 child deaths per year globally. The Barriers to Breastfeeding study is a focused ethnographic study of twenty first time mothers in a rural coastal community in Kilifi County, Kenya. The study follows these mothers from late pregnancy until their babies are six months old, focusing on the challenges encountered in following nutrition advice to breastfeed only. Through visiting mothers in their homes and observing their interaction with other family members, Dr Alison Talbert has developed an in depth understanding of the drivers and barriers that are related to exclusive breastfeeding.

sankalpa has fully funded the research costs of the two year study, this level of support has enabled Alison to undertake a detailed holistic examination of health related infant mortality across the Kilifi County region.

The gathered data is being used to raise awareness of the lack of breastfeeding support for mothers at a local level in Kenya. The study has provided an additional body of knowledge in relation of young people’s daily lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

sankalpa has enabled an in-depth investigation of the contextual factors which will need to be considered in any local interventions to prevent malnutrition and child deaths. It is hard to find funding for this kind of research from major donors who are more interested in large scale projects.

Alison Talbert, paediatrician

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