Breast-feeding initiation and determinants of exclusive breast-feeding — a questionnaire survey in an urban population of western Nepal

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Abstract

Objective

To assess rates of initiation of breast-feeding and exclusive breast-feeding within 2 months after delivery and to determine the factors influencing exclusive breast-feeding.

Design

A health worker-administered questionnaire survey was carried out during the time period 1 August-30 September 2005.

Setting

Immunisation clinics of Pokhara, a submetropolitan city in western Nepal.

Subjects

Three hundred and eighty-five mothers who had delivered a child within the previous 2 months.

Results

The rates of initiation within 1 h and within 24 h of delivery were 72.7 and 84.4%, respectively. Within 2 months after delivery, exclusive breast-feeding was practised by 82.3% of the mothers. Breast milk/colostrum was given as the first feed to 332 (86.2%) babies but 17.2% of them were either given expressed breast milk or were put to the breast of another lactating mother. Pre-lacteal feeds were given to 14% of the babies. The common pre-lacteal feeds given were formula feeds (6.2%), sugar water (5.9%) and cow's milk (2.8%). Complementary feeds were introduced by 12.7% of the mothers. By logistic regression analysis, friends' feeding practices, type of delivery and baby's first feed were the factors influencing exclusive breast-feeding practice of the mothers.

Conclusions

Despite the higher rates of initiation and exclusive breast-feeding, practices such as pre-lacteal feeds and premature introduction of complementary feeds are of great concern in this urban population. There is a need for promotion of good breast-feeding practices among expectant mothers and also the community, especially the families, taking into account the local traditions and customs.

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