Factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding amongst a cohort of mothers with infants aged 0-8 weeks in Tlokwe, North West Province
The rate of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) is low in South Africa. Furthermore, the EBF rate decreases as infants get older. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of EBF and breastfeeding practices of mothers with infants 0-8 weeks at two time points. This prospective cohort study included 161 mother-infant pairs recruited from eight healthcare facilities in the Tlokwe sub-district of the North West Province of South Africa. A socio-demographic and unquantified food frequency questionnaire was administered at infant age 3-15 days, and at infant age 4-8 weeks. Logistic regression was used to estimate association of EBF with socio-demographic factors. The prevalence of EBF at infant age 3-15 days was 70.8% and at 4-8 weeks, it dropped to 50.3%. At infant age 3-15 days, 11.8% of mothers practised mixed feeding (breastfeeding and formula feeds) which increased to 21.7% at 4-8 weeks. The percentage of mothers giving water, and non-prescriptive medicines also increased between the two time points. At infant age 3-15 days, mothers in the age categories of 25-29 years ((Adjusted Odds ratio) AOR: 0.14; 95% CI: 0.04- 0.43; p=0.001) and 30-35 years (AOR: 0.26; 95% CI: 0.07- 0.94; p=0.039) were significantly less likely to practise EBF compared to mothers in the age category 19-24 years. Furthermore, mothers with ≥Grade 12 educational level were more likely to practice EBF compared to mothers with less than Grade 12 educational level (AOR: 3.82; 95% CI: 1.62- 9.00; p=0.002). None of the explanatory variables was significantly associated with EBF at infant age 4-8 weeks. In conclusion, EBF rate significantly decreased over a relatively short period, and the mother’s age and educational level were associated with EBF at infant age 3-15 days.
- Health Sciences