Using Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methodologies for Understanding Infant Feeding Practices **SECOND TITLE** Infant Feeding and Weaning Practices in the North-West and South-West Provinces of Cameroon: Evidence from Focus Group Discussions
The first selection demonstrates that combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to study infant feeding is appealing, for several reasons: First, qualitative methods can help improve the accuracy and relevance of quantitative studies by increasing our understanding of quantitative data. Second, quantitative research can identify appropriate variables and indicators to be used and measured, thus aiding in the design of further interventions. Finally, the two approaches in combination can provide explanations for unexpected or unexplained findings and serve as a fertile source of hypotheses and conceptual models. The second selection reports the results of focus group discussions among mothers in Cameroon in 1996. Although breastfeeding duration remains long in many parts if the country, there has been mounting evidence of infant feeding problems from qualitative surveys there. The goal of the discussions was to provide information concerning initiation of breastfeeding; breastfeeding practices; "spoiled milk" and "insufficient milk" syndromes; breastfeeding duration; weaning; infant feeding and illness; food availability; and channels of communication regarding infant feeding practices. The chapter concludes that efforts should be made to promote change in women's practices concerning the importance of (1) early initiation of breastfeeding; (2) exclusive breastfeeding up to six months; (3) giving colostrum and seeing it as the first stage of breast milk production; and (4) giving children a balanced diet during the weaning process.
Originally published in: Nutrition and child Health in Cameroon, pp. 53-78, 247-266.
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