Preventative lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) and young child feeding practices: findings from qualitative research in Haiti

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Abstract

To prevent undernutrition in an urban slum in Haiti, a lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) was introduced through a randomised control trial. Food supplementation for young child nutrition has a long history in Haiti, but there is little empirical information regarding the effects of supplementation on young child feeding practices. One of the concerns raised by supplementation is that it may disrupt other positive feeding practices such as breastfeeding and use of other complementary foods, with negative consequences for child nutrition. We conducted 29 in-depth interviews with mother–baby pairs from the three comparison groups: control, 3-month LNS supplementation and 6-month LNS supplementation. Findings from those in the LNS groups indicated high acceptance and satisfaction with LNS and perceptions that it positively affects child health and development. LNS was integrated into and enhanced ongoing complementary feeding practices. The effects of LNS use on duration and perceived quantity of breastfeeding were variable, but generally, breastfeeding was maintained during and after the intervention. Interviews generated insights into beliefs regarding infant and young child feeding practices such as introduction and use of complementary foods, and breastfeeding duration, exclusivity and cessation. Implications for the use of LNS in public health nutrition programmes are discussed.

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