Documentation of the feeding choices and experiences of HIV-positive mothers is needed to improve infant feeding counselling. The feeding behaviour and experiences of mothers receiving infant feeding counselling at two Ghanaian districts were explored. A postpartum survey involving 128 HIV-positive mothers, and in-depth interviews involving a purposively selected sample of 10 HIV-positive mothers were conducted. Exclusive breastfeeding rate was 62%. About six percent of the infants were given breast milk and infant formula, while 33% received breast milk and other feeds. Perceived stigma of formula feeding (odds ratio [OR] 7.50; p < 0.05), and perceived cost of infant formula (OR 0.37; p < 0.05) were significantly associated with exclusive breastfeeding for three months. In our multiple regression analysis, perceived stigma of formula feeding (OR 15.62; p < 0.05), and perceived cost of infant formula (OR 4.60; p < 0.05) were significantly associated with exclusive breastfeeding. Social pressure to mix-feed, local norms and “the baby friendly hospital initiative” also influenced infant feeding implementation efforts of mothers. Mothers face various barriers in implementing their feeding intentions. Policy makers and service providers in these districts need to address these issues in order to improve feeding practice.
Key words: Infant feed choices, infant feeding experiences, HIV-positive mothers, Ghana.
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