The objective of this study was to identify infant and young child (IYC) feeding practices that could modify (positively or negatively) adherence to micronutrient powder (MNP) recommendations in Ethiopia.
A Focused Ethnographic Study (FES) was used to explore IYC feeding practices before implementation of the project. The FES was conducted in two phases, with the results of interviews with key informants (n=8) in the first phase informing the adaptation of the research protocol in the second phase, which was administered to a sample of 30 caregivers of children 6-23 mo.
The FES showed semi-solid porridge was commonly prepared for IYC and fed using a spoon. Caregivers knew to and did enrich porridges with ingredients (e.g. meat powder, egg, milk, iodized salt) to support mental development, physical strength and health. Selected food items (e.g. egg) were added to porridge at the end of cooking process so that vitamins do not âgo away’ due to overcooking. IYC food was cooked in small portions and fed soon after; leftovers were never given for fear that they might be contaminated. Reported IYC feeding problems included refusing food, eating only small amounts, and not eating everything that is given.
The FES revealed many positive IYC feeding beliefs and practices. These could promote appropriate utilization of MNP, although some may also disfavor its use. A program impact pathway incorporating these modifiers was developed and a process evaluation will assess their influence on project outcomes.