Audit of feeding practices in the neonatal wards at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital

Letlhogonolo Sepeng, D E Ballot


Background. Breastfeeding is the preferred choice of infant feeding. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a ten-step plan to help establish successful breastfeeding and is adapted by public sector hospitals in Gauteng. Despite this, rates of breastfeeding in sick and preterm neonates remain low.

Objective. To determine feeding practices of neonates in the neonatal wards of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH) on discharge.

Methods. A retrospective review of the CMJAH neonatal database of feeding choices of neonates discharged from the CMJAH neonatal unit between 1 January 2013 and 30 April 2013 was conducted.

Results. The records of 404 neonates were studied. A total of 98 (24%) were very low birth weight (VLBW) (<1 500 g), while 306 (75.7%) were >1 500 g or more. Only 94 (23.2%) were discharged on exclusive breastmilk, 232 (57.4%) were discharged on exclusive formula milk and 78 (19.3%) babies were discharged on mixed feeds (both formula milk and breastmilk). Significant variables associated with feeding choices were HIV exposure, perinatal asphyxia and resuscitation at birth and, particularly in the VLBW group, necrotising enterocolitis was found to be statistically significant. 

Conclusion. Despite the fact that the CMJAH was involved in the BFHI, rates of exclusive breastfeeding were still low. This needs to be urgently addressed with employment of lactation consultants and improved counselling of mothers exposed to HIV on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.

Authors' affiliations

Letlhogonolo Sepeng, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

D E Ballot, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Johannesburg

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Neonatal nutrition

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2015;9(4):133-136. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.2015.v9i4.895

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-11-25
Date published: 2015-11-06

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