Determinants of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Introduction of Complementary foods in Rural Egyptian Communities

  •  Arwa El Shafei    
  •  John Labib    


Background: Determinants of breastfeeding (BF) exclusivity at a rural Egyptian setting are largely unknown. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess BF indicators, specifically exclusivity and the timely complementary feeding while assessing potential determinants that affect exclusivity of BF among a sample of mothers inhabiting Egyptian rural communities.

Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of four months with inclusion of 1000 eligible women having infants aged less than two years through a multi-stage random sampling method. Personal interview, using structured questionnaire, to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics, antenatal care services, women’s lactation practices, complementary feeding practices and knowledge about BF.

Results: All the included mothers had breastfed their infants, and 32.4% of them initiated BF within the first hour of life and 29.9% exclusively breastfed their infants for 6 months after birth. Complementary feeding was introduced for children aged 6-9 months in 63.6% of them. Bivariate analysis showed that  factors favoring exclusive BF were age of the mother (<25 years), with secondary or higher education, number of children, with no history of complicated pregnancy or lactation problems, received health education about BF and having knowledge about BF. Logistic regression model showed that most influential significant predictor for exclusive BF was receiving of health education about BF and adequate knowledge of BF.

Conclusions: Although all rural Egyptian mothers included, initiated BF, the rate of its exclusivity was low. Comprehensive education about BF during pregnancy is strongly needed to promote BF among them.

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