Social determinants of mixed feeding behavior among HIV-infected mothers in Jos, Nigeria

AIDS Care. 2009 Sep;21(9):1114-23. doi: 10.1080/09540120802705842.


Mixed feeding confers excess risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV compared with exclusive breastfeeding and exclusive formula feeding. We undertook a qualitative and quantitative cross-sectional survey to identify the social determinants of mixed feeding among a subset of the 469 HIV-infected women enrolled in a MTCT prevention program in Jos, Nigeria. Formula was provided free-of-cost. Of the 91 participants, 68 (75%) exclusively formula fed, 7 (8%) exclusively breastfed, and 16 (18%) practiced mixed feeding. Of the mixed feeding women, seven primarily formula fed and nine primarily breastfed. Women who primarily formula fed described family pressure as the reason for mixed feeding, while women who primarily breastfed reported insufficient breast milk. In a multivariate analysis, lack of partner support of the feeding decision predicted mixed feeding behavior (OR: 4.2; 95% CI: 1.2-14.9; p=0.03). Disclosure of HIV status was significantly correlated (p<0.001) with partner support. HIV prevention interventions aimed at reducing mixed feeding should encourage supportive partner relationships that facilitate disclosure of HIV status. Attention should also be made to the differing pressures faced by women attempting to exclusively breast feed and exclusively formula feed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects
  • Bottle Feeding / psychology*
  • Bottle Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / statistics & numerical data
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data
  • Nigeria
  • Self Disclosure
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult