Prevalence and factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding among adolescent mothers in Kyenjojo District
Lutaaya, Alfred Saul
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Introduction: Breastfeeding is well established as the optimal method for ensuring healthy infant nutrition. However, many adolescents remain unaware of the role of breastfeeding in health promotion and disease prevention. Worldwide the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among adolescent mothers varies from one country to another while in some countries no keen interest has been taken to know the prevalence and breastfeeding practices among adolescent mothers. In Uganda, the UDHS only provided the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among all mothers of the breastfeeding population. Objective: To estimate the prevalence and factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding among adolescent mothers in Kyenjojo district. . Methods: A community based cross sectional study was conducted in Kyenjojo district using quantitative approaches. Six hundred ninety adolescent mothers aged between 10 -19 years who had infants between 0 – 6 months were recruited for the study and interviewed about exclusive breastfeeding. Data were coded and entered into STATA to determine prevalence and factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding among adolescent mothers. Univariate, bivariate and multivariable analysis were done, prevalence rate ratios were used to test for associations at 95% confidence interval. P- Values and confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance of associations. Results: The mean age of the participants was 17 years, prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 58.9% (95% CI 55.2 -62.6). Understanding of exclusive breastfeeding was relatively higher (76.4%) compared to the practice. In multivariable analysis, adolescent mothers who inadequately understood exclusive breastfeeding (APRR = 0.13, CI; 0.07 – 0.22) and mothers who initiated breastfeeding after one hour (APRR = 0.71, CI; 0.56 – 0.90) had lower prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding compared to their counterparts. Mothers whose family members did not influence them to give the baby other foods had higher exclusive breastfeeding prevalence compared to mothers who were influenced by family members to give others foods (APRR = 1.92, CI; 1.22 – 3.04) Conclusion: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among adolescent mothers was lower than the national figure of 66% and lower than the 90% recommendation of the World Health Organisation. Strategies that target improving the knowledge of EBF to enable adolescent mothers adequately understand it, and strategies that help health facilities and communities improve communication on breastfeeding and the support they give to adolescent mothers may help improve EBF among adolescent mothers in this setting. Adolescent mothers need to be equipped with negotiation skills to enable them make decisions that positively impact their lives and those of their babies.