It’s about Time: An Examination of Breastfeeding and Women’s Time Use in Kenya

Kathryn Grace, University of Utah
Jude Mikal, University of Utah

Supported by research, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that women exclusively breastfeed infants on demand for the first six months and then continue breastfeeding until a child's second birthday. These recommendations lay claim to women’s time (and women’s bodies), arguably promoting infant health at the expense of the woman's own health and potentially impeding advances in women's empowerment. In this paper we use the most recent Kenyan Demographic and Health (DHS) data to examine breastfeeding trends with specific attention to women’s time. Kenya has made significant strides in increasing women's education and employment yet is characterized by low breastfeeding rates. We anticipate that breastfeeding promotion efforts may cause women to invest more time in the care of a single infant, thereby reducing time for economic self-actualization, or other household responsibilities. This paper brings the study of variations in infant feeding strategies into the contemporary discussion of women’s empowerment.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2