Factors influencing high socio-economic class mothers' decision regarding formula-feeding practices in the Cape Metropole

Marwyn Sowden, Debbi Marais, Ronel Beukes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of the study were to identify the reasons why high socio-economic class women in the Cape Metropole decide not to breast-feed;
to evaluate whether the type and volume of infant formula selected by the mother was appropriate for her infant’s current age and to identify the factors that influence the decision-making process when deciding which infant formula to feed her infant. An observational descriptive study with consecutive sampling was utilised. Data of 55 mothers with infants aged 0 to 6 months that were not currently breast-fed was captured in day care centres and private clinics situated in the Cape Metropole. Data was collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire available in Afrikaans and English. The majority of mothers (80%) decided only after the birth of their infant to rather opt for formula feeding. Evident factors that were identified as barriers to breast-feeding include a lack of knowledge and experience (38%) as well as a lack of facilities at public places (75%) and at work (71%) to breast-feed. Perceived benefits of infant formula included that the father could help with the workload (67%) and does not feel left out (38%), the mother knows what volume of milk is received (84%) and the convenience if the mother is working (64%). The mothers were overall not concerned about possible side-effects of breast-feeding and did not feel that their breasts were physically not of optimal physiology to breast-feed. One of the greatest challenges to support, protect and promote breast-feeding is to ensure that information sources give scientifically correct information to the uninformed or information-seeking mother in a standardised and positive manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalSouth African Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • infant feeding
  • formula feeding


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