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[pronut-hiv] Early initiation of breastfeeding in Ghana: barriers and facilitators

  • From: "ProNut-HIV" <>
  • Date: Fri, 07 Aug 2009 00:36:34 -0400

Tawiah-Agyemang C, Kirkwood BR, Edmond K, Bazzano A, Hill Z

Journal of Perinatology, December 2008; 28 Suppl 2:S46-52

Abstract: To explore why women in Ghana initiate breastfeeding early or
late, who gives advice about initiation and what foods or fluids are
given to babies when breastfeeding initiation is late.

Qualitative data were collected through 52 semi-structured interviews with recent mothers, 8 focus group discussions with women of child-bearing age and 13 semi-structured interviews with health workers, policy makers and

The major reasons for delaying initiation of breastfeeding
were the perception of a lack of breast milk, performing post-birth
activities such as bathing, perception that the mother and the baby need
rest after birth and the baby not crying for milk. Facilitating factors
for early initiation included delivery in a health facility, where the
staff encouraged early breastfeeding, and the belief in some ethnic
groups that putting the baby to the breast encourages the milk. Policy
makers tended to focus on exclusive breastfeeding rather than early
initiation. Most activities for the promotion of early initiation of
breastfeeding were focused on health facilities with very few community

It is important to raise awareness about early initiation of
breastfeeding in communities and in the policy arena. Interventions
should focus on addressing barriers to early initiation and should
include a community component.