‘I was told not to do it but…’: Infant feeding practices amongst HIV-positive women in southern Thailand Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • mothers living with HIV are encouraged not to breastfeed as it can transmit HIV to their infants. However, there is little known about how Thai women with HIV perceive and experience their infant feeding practices. This paper explores the breastfeeding experiences among Thai women living with HIV in southern Thailand.semi-structured interviews and drawing methods were used with 30 HIV-positive women in rural communities of southern Thailand. Thematic analysis was used for data analysis.HIV-positive mothers had ambivalent feelings about not being able to breastfeed their infants. They perceived themselves as a 'contaminated mother'. Healthcare centres and hospitals supply free infant formula for HIV-positive mothers up to one and a half years. Despite this, many mothers had to deal with some difficulties. Some infants developed an allergy to the infant formula. The free infant formula was not sufficient for some infants and the mothers had to find alternative means for the well-being of their infants: many mothers relied on condensed milk whereas some fed mashed banana. The women made every effort to fulfill their ideology of being a good and responsible mother.this paper contributes a conceptual understanding about the lived experiences of breastfeeding among women living with HIV in southern Thailand. The findings have implications for midwifery care and health policy. The provision of different options of feeding should be made available to infants along with accessible resources and professional support and guidance.

publication date

  • 2017