OBJECTIVES: To determine the factors influencing the ability of HIV-infected mothers to adhere to antenatal feeding choices after routine prevention of mother-to-child transmission counselling.
PATIENTS and METHODS: The postnatal feeding practices of 222 HIV-infected mothers were compared with their prenatal intentions and with those of 53 uninfected mothers.
RESULTS: Ninety-four per cent of HIV-negative mothers were breastfeeding their babies at age 6 weeks, while 69% of HIV-positive mothers were formula feeding. Of the HIV-positive mothers who intended to formula feed prenatally, 25% changed their minds and breastfed, while 50% of 52 women planning to breastfeed switched to formula feeds. Mothers who did not adhere to their original intention to formula feed were significantly younger than those who remained with their original choice, and were more likely to have received negative or domineering support and to share their home with someone other than their partner.
CONCLUSION: Women are influenced by circumstances in their homes and at the hospital to depart from their original feeding intent.