Barriers to infant and child-feeding practices: A qualitative study of primary caregivers in rural Uganda

Joyce Nankumbi, Joshua K. Muliira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers to the use of appropriate infant and young childfeeding practices by primary caregivers living in a rural Ugandan district. A community-based qualitative design and focus group discussions were used for collecting data from primary caregivers of children aged 0 to 24 month(s). On an average, each of the four focus group discussions had 11 participants. The focus group discussions were conducted using a structured interview guide and were tape-recorded. The recorded data were later transcribed and analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis techniques. All the participants were females, and the majority had low levels of education and at least one child in the age-group of 0-24 month(s) in their household. The findings show that the main barriers to the use of appropriate infant and young child-feeding practices fall under four themes: caregiver's knowledge about breastfeeding, caregiver's knowledge about complimentary feeding, influence of culture custodians on the caregivers, and patterns and burden of other responsibilities the caregivers have in the household. The four categories of barriers imply that there are various missed opportunities to implement hospital and community-based interventions to improve infant and young child-feeding practices, which is one way of preventing malnutrition. Therefore, in rural areas of Uganda, the major factors responsible for the high prevalence of malnutrition among infants and children are still those related to knowledge, culture, and social status of the primary caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Feeding practices
  • Infant-feeding
  • Malnutrition
  • Primary caregivers
  • Qualitative methods
  • Rural area
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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