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When I Breastfeed, It Feels as if my Soul Leaves the Body”: Maternal Capabilities for Healthy Child Growth in Rural Southeastern Tanzania

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Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800, Landleven 1, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
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National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza Centre, P.O. Box 1462, 33104 Mwanza, Tanzania
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Campus Friesland, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 3, Wirdumerdijk 34, 8911 CE Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
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Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, International Development Studies, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.115, Princetonlaan 8a 3584 CB Utrecht, The Netherlands
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Transdisciplinary Center for Qualitative Methods, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal 576104, India
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International Union for Nutrition Sciences Task Force Toward Multi-dimensional Indicators of Child Growth and Development, 10 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherds Bush Road, London W6 7NJ, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6215; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176215
Received: 26 July 2020 / Revised: 19 August 2020 / Accepted: 20 August 2020 / Published: 27 August 2020
The burden of childhood stunting in Tanzania is persistently high, even in high food-producing regions. This calls for a paradigm shift in Child Growth Monitoring (CGM) to a multi-dimensional approach that also includes the contextual information of an individual child and her/his caregivers. To contribute to the further development of CGM to reflect local contexts, we engaged the Capability Framework for Child Growth (CFCG) to identify maternal capabilities for ensuring healthy child growth. Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Southeastern Tanzania using in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, participant observation, and focus group discussions with caregivers for under-fives. Three maternal capabilities for healthy child growth emerged: (1) being able to feed children, (2) being able to control and make decisions on farm products and income, and (3) being able to ensure access to medical care. Mothers’ capability to feed children was challenged by being overburdened by farm and domestic work, and gendered patterns in childcare. Patriarchal cultural norms restricted women’s control of farm products and decision-making on household purchases. The CFCG could give direction to the paradigm shift needed for child growth monitoring, as it goes beyond biometric measures, and considers mothers’ real opportunities for achieving healthy child growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: capability approach; capability framework for child growth; maternal capabilities; child growth; breastfeeding; growth monitoring; Tanzania; ethnography capability approach; capability framework for child growth; maternal capabilities; child growth; breastfeeding; growth monitoring; Tanzania; ethnography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mchome, Z.; Yousefzadeh, S.; Bailey, A.; Haisma, H. “When I Breastfeed, It Feels as if my Soul Leaves the Body”: Maternal Capabilities for Healthy Child Growth in Rural Southeastern Tanzania. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6215. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176215

AMA Style

Mchome Z, Yousefzadeh S, Bailey A, Haisma H. “When I Breastfeed, It Feels as if my Soul Leaves the Body”: Maternal Capabilities for Healthy Child Growth in Rural Southeastern Tanzania. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(17):6215. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176215

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mchome, Zaina, Sepideh Yousefzadeh, Ajay Bailey, and Hinke Haisma. 2020. "“When I Breastfeed, It Feels as if my Soul Leaves the Body”: Maternal Capabilities for Healthy Child Growth in Rural Southeastern Tanzania" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 17: 6215. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17176215

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