Determinants of exclusive breastfeeding practice for the first six months in mothers with infants between 6 and 15 months of age in Erbil city, Iraq: A cross-sectional study
Background and objective: Breastfeeding is a useful and natural source of nutrition that provides the healthiest start for an infant. Despite its nutritional benefits, breastfeeding promotes a unique and emotional connection between mother and baby. This study aimed to assess the determinants of exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of age in Erbil City, Iraq.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Erbil city, Iraq, from December 2017 to December 2018. A convenience sampling method was used for selecting mothers of infants aged 6-15 months. A structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The statistical package for the social sciences was used for data analysis and a P value of ≤0.05 was regarded as statistically significant.
Results: A total of 306 mothers with children aged between 6 and 15 months were included. The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 26.5%. Around 36% of mothers had a primary school qualification, of whom 28.2% gave exclusive breastfeeding. Around 84%of the mother were housewives, of whom 28.3% had exclusive breastfeeding. Around 92% of the mothers had a birth at health facilities, of whom 26.2% gave exclusive breastfeeding. Around 50% of mothers had cesarean section deliveries, of whom 23.4% gave exclusive breastfeeding. Around 44% of the mothers mentioned that insufficient milk is the barrier to exclusive breastfeeding.
Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding still remains low compared to the current WHO recommendations. The most common barrier to continuing exclusive breastfeeding was the perception of insufficient milk production. Housewife mothers are more likely to breastfeed their infants exclusively, and least when the mother is a non-house wife.
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