Breastfeeding practices among infants in Bhaktapur, Nepal


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus

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Master i samfunnsernæring


Introduction: Adequate nutrition status during the first two years of life is important for health throughout life. Breastfeeding is the optimal way of providing infants with the nutrients they need for normal physical and psychological development. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure a child’s health and survival. Background and objectives: As one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal has high infant and maternal mortality rate and a high prevalence of undernutrition. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and introduction of complementary foods from 6-8 months. The overall objective was to explore the breastfeeding practices in Bhaktapur, Nepal and compare them to WHOs' recommendations. Methods: During 2008-2009 a cross-sectional study was conducted among 489 randomly selected mother-infant pairs in Bhaktapur. Data regarding breastfeeding and socioeconomic status were collected. Results: According to the WHO indicators on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), 80% of the mothers reported initiation of breastfeeding within one hour after birth and 92 % reported that colostrum was given. At 3 and 6 months, respectively 55 % and 40 % were exclusively breastfeed. About 32% introduced complementary feeding between 6-8 months. The most common liquid to give as first liquid after birth was breastmilk, while lito was the most common complementary food. Socioeconomic status of the parents significantly affected the feeding practices. Mothers who were unemployed or working in agriculture were less likely to introduce breastfeeding within one hour after birth (p=0.048) and to maintain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months (p=0.042). Literacy level was also associated with feeding practices, and we found a significant correlation between the mothers' knowledge about WHOs' recommendations on exclusive breastfeeding and duration of exclusive breastfeeding (p<0.001). Conclusions: Our results emphasize the influence of the parents' socioeconomic status on infant feeding practices and suggest that women of poor socioeconomic status should be given special attention with regard to breastfeeding support


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