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Table 3 Participants plans and practices for feeding and returning to work

From: ‘I decided to go back to work so I can afford to buy her formula’: a longitudinal mixed-methods study to explore how women in informal work balance the competing demands of infant feeding and working to provide for their family

Mother characteristics
(Baseline quantitative interview)
Pre-delivery Feeding plans and duration
(baseline quantitative interview)
Feeding practice post-delivery (post-delivery quantitative interview) Age of baby at return to work (return-to-work quantitative interview) Feeding practice at return to work
(quantitative data: return-to-work interview)
Details of child care at return to work: person and place
(return-to-work quantitative interview)
Feeding and work balance
(return-to-work qualitative interview)
M01
Age range:
20–24 years
Domestic worker
Breast feed
3 months
Mixed breastfeeding
Introduced formula milk at 7 days
6 days Now breast feeding only (stopped giving formula milk) Mother/non-relative
(mother takes the baby to work/leaves at carer’s home)
“Granny did not know what to do because I had expressed the milk in the morning; they had to warm the milk for her and then give it to her; they failed to do that. They called me and I had to come back. I then went to the lady to continue [working] the next day”.
M05
Age range:
25–29 years
Home based worker (sewing)
Breast feed
24 months
Exclusive breastfeeding 1 month Exclusive breastfeeding Mother
(mother working from home)
“The change is that she does not get breastfed for the entire day anymore. She feeds from a bottle.”
M06
Age range:
20-24 years
Hairdresser
Formula feed Mixed breastfeeding 1 and a half months Formula feeding Other relative
(mother working from home)
“Before I start doing client’s hair I make sure that I have prepared at least two bottles, you see. It is very rare to find that the bottles have been finished in an hour or two because she does not feed a lot. But if it happens, let us say she finished her bottle, granny knows how to prepare the formula for her”.
M07
Age range:
35–39 years
Domestic worker
Breast feed
1 month
Formula feeding
Never breastfed
6 weeks Formula feeding Other relative
(Carer’s home)
“My sister feeds her. I give her formula. There is formula that is kept at my house and formula that is kept at my sister’s house”.
M08
Age range:
25–29 years
Fuel attendant
Breast feed
1 month
Formula feeding
Never breastfed
2 months Formula feeding Non-relative
(Crèche)
“I wake up in the morning and prepare everything. I know how much she eats. Her carer also knows. I also pack an extra tin just in case. If she finishes these two bottles that I prepared for her, she can then make another one for her”.
M11
Age range:
25–29 years
Tuck shop owner
Formula feed Breastfeeding initiated
Stopped at 5 days & introduced formula
1 month Formula feeding Mother
(mother working from home)
“She is fed formula. I know it is not right. I also feed her Purity that is in the bottle…there are not too many challenges. Sometimes when she wants to sleep she cries. I have to soothe her while there are customers that want to buy. That is the main challenge”
M12
Age range:
35–39 years
Domestic worker
Breast feed
12 months
Breastfeeding exclusively 3 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluids at 3 months
Mother
(Takes baby to work)
“I started giving my baby porridge when I went back to work... I was not going to have enough time to breastfeed her, so that is why I just decided to give her porridge then give her breast milk and she will just sit afterwards and be fine. I feed her at work”.
M13
Age range:
25–29 years
Hairdresser
Breast feed
6 months
Breastfeeding exclusively 6 months Formula feeding, stopped breastfeeding at 6 months Non-relative
(Crèche)
“I wanted to breastfeed for a full 6 months. After that, I introduced her to formula so she can go to crèche…I have to wake up and bath her, feed her, prepare her bottles that she will take with to crèche, and I also bath and prepare to go to work. I first drop her off at crèche and then I go to work”.
M14
Age range:
35–39 years
Domestic worker
Formula feed Breast fed for 2 h
Changed to formula feeding
3 months Formula feeding Child’s grandmother
(Mother’s residence)
“My mother prepares food for her in the morning because she stays at home. I am usually busy preparing to go to work. My mother is the only person that is able to prepare formula for her in the morning”.
M15
Age range:
20–24 years
Hairdresser
Mixed breastfeeding Mixed breastfeeding 1 month Mixed breast feeding Mother
(Takes baby to work)
“She cries a lot. I ended up putting her on my back and going with her to work. So I worked with her on my back the whole time until I knocked off. It was extremely tough, you see, because you are working and the baby is on your back and does not want to be carried by anyone [but you] and she is crying. It was like that. Even now, when I go to work I take her with me because the problem is that the breast milk is on me so I cannot leave her”.
M16
Age range:
30–34 years
Home based worker
Breast feed
6 months
Exclusive breastfeeding 8 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluids at 6 months
Mother
(mother working from home)
“I have to do my work and I sometimes think I will do my work at night but then she just wakes up and wants to be close to me or even be breastfed you see. She suckles the milk so I have to make sure that I work hard when she is asleep because when she is awake I have to play with her and give her attention”.
M17
Age range:
25-29 years
Domestic worker
Formula feed Breastfeeding exclusively 5 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluids at 2 months
Non-relative
(Crèche)
“I just wake up in the morning and make porridge for my baby. I give him porridge and if it finished I will make another porridge. And then I take out things for him to eat in crèche and bath him then I go and leave him in crèche”.
M18
Age range:
30–34 years
Homebased worker, sells products
Breast feed
24 months
Mixed breastfeeding 4 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluids at 3 months
Child’s grandmother
(Mother’s residence)
“I make sure that I feed her before I leave. She eats (commercial baby food). She eats and drinks milk and I have introduced her to formula and she has gotten used to it…I leave her with formula and when I come back I breastfeed her”
M20
Age range:
25–29 years
Hairdresser
Breast feed
6 months
Mixed breastfeeding 1 month Formula feeding Mother
(Residence – mother working from home)
“I tell the person beforehand if they want me to do their hair that I have a child so if I have to go and feed the child they must bear with me. It is up to them. If they will not tolerate me feeding my child then they can go to another hair stylist”.
M21
Age range:
25–29 years
Domestic worker
Breast feed and other foods
24 months
Mixed breastfeeding 3 months Mixed breast feeding Non-relative/ crèche “She eats in the morning before I go to work. I make porridge and feed her and also put some in a lunch box. I then prepare her bottle and also express breast milk … I express it and put the bottle in a flask”.
M22
Age range
30–34 years
Hairdresser
Breast feed
6 months
Mixed breastfeeding 2 months Formula feeding Other relative
(Mother’s residence)
“Whenever I called to check on her they said she was fine and she was feeding on the milk that I had bought her. They said it was not affecting her”.
M23
Age range:
30–34 years
Homebased worker/informal trader
Breast feed
3 months
Exclusive Breastfeeding 6 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluid at 2 months
Child’s father
(Mother’s residence)
“I used to keep time every day and ensured that I leave the house at the same time every day. Now when I leave, sometimes the child is already awake, so I have to first breastfeed him before I leave”.
M24
Age range:
25–29 years
Market trader (works for employer)
Breast feed
6 months
Breastfeeding
(plus water)
2 months Mixed breast feeding
Introduced other food/fluid at 2 months
Non-relative
(Crèche)
“When I wake up in the morning I prepare a bottle for her to feed on quickly. I then take her formula and put it in her bag… I then give all these things to the lady that is caring for her so that as soon as the child finishes her bottle the carer can prepare another bottle and keep boiled water in the flask and use it to prepare the bottle for the child…She is breastfed when I come home in the evening. She is also breastfed at night”.