Infant feeding practices of mothers and nutritional status of infants in Vhembe District in the Limpopo Province

  • Lindelani F Mushaphi University of Venda
  • Xikombiso G Mbhenyane University of Venda
  • L B Khoza University of Venda
  • A K A Amey University of Venda
Keywords: Infant feeding, breastfeeding, nutritional status infants


Objective: To determine the breast-feeding and weaning practices of mothers and the nutritional status of infants in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province. Design: A descriptive and exploratory study was done. A sample of 185 mothers with 185 infants 12 months and younger was selected from five primary healthcare clinics. A validated questionnaire, which consisted of questions relating to demographic data, breast-feeding and weaning practices, was used. The weight and length measurements of the infants were taken. Results: The majority (97%) of the mothers were still breast-feeding at the time of the interviews. Only 7,6% practised exclusive breastfeeding, however, while 43,2% had introduced solid foods at three months and 15% before two months. The weaning food given by most of the mothers was maize-meal soft porridge and had been introduced before four months of age. The Z-score classification was used and showed that stunting (18,9%), underweight (7%) and wasting (7%) were present among the infants but that only wasting was found to be a disorder of public-health significance. The nutritional status of the infants was therefore not significantly influenced by the breast-feeding and weaning practices of the mothers or other demographic parameters. Conclusion: Breast-feeding was still practised by many of the mothers but exclusive breast-feeding was rare.

Author Biographies

Lindelani F Mushaphi, University of Venda
RD, BSc Diet, M (Nutrition) Department of Nutrition
Xikombiso G Mbhenyane, University of Venda
RD, MSc Diet & Nut, PhD Department of Nutrition
L B Khoza, University of Venda
RN, M Cur, D Litt et Phil Department of Advanced Nursing Science
A K A Amey, University of Venda
MA, PhD Department of Statistics
How to Cite
Mushaphi, L., Mbhenyane, X., Khoza, L., & Amey, A. (2008). Infant feeding practices of mothers and nutritional status of infants in Vhembe District in the Limpopo Province. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 21(2), 36-41. Retrieved from
Original Research