Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Mothers living with HIV (MLHIV) face complex challenges regarding infant feeding practices, which often restrict their ability to adhere to their chosen or medically recommended feeding behaviors. Mothers-in-law (MIL) enjoy significant influence and participate actively in the rearing of grandchildren in Cameroon. However, the extent to which MIL influence infant feeding behaviors of their daughters-in-law have not been studied. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) was used in this phenomenological study to explore how attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control influenced infant feeding practices of 9 MLHIV in rural communities of the North West Region of Cameroon. The five steps of data explicitation detailed by Groenewald were used to analyze the data. Findings indicated that MLHIV who were in close contact with their MIL experienced strong influence towards infant feeding practices of their babies. While MLHIV who were practicing exclusive breastfeeding received support for appropriate infant feeding practices, those giving their babies artificial milk were influenced to adopt inappropriate feeding practices, specifically mixed feeding. The study results may be used to promote positive social change by improving on the infant feeding practices of MLHIV. This could lead to a reduction of mother to child transmission of HIV.