Main Article Content
Background: Although breastfeeding in general is common and culturally accepted in many sub-Saharan countries, recommended exclusive breastfeeding infants to 6 months is rare. In rural Tanzania, data on infant feeding practices is rare.
Objective: To examine and describe exclusive breastfeeding practices in rural settings (Coast Region) of Tanzania.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Coast Region of Tanzania involving 342 mothers. Only mothers with children aged between 6 and 23 months were interviewed in their residences. Data analyses included descriptive and logistic regression analyses.
Results: The majority, 66%, of mothers reported to have breastfed their new born within the first hour of life. About 30% reported to have breastfed exclusively for up to at least six months. Those who did not practice complete exclusive breastfeeding mentioned insufficient milk as the main reason. Correlates of exclusive breastfeeding included maternal education and attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding.
Conclusion: The rate of exclusive breastfeeding in rural areas like the Coast Region of Tanzania is still very low. Programs aimed to promote exclusive breastfeeding must take multi-factorial considerations.
Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, practice, rural, Tanzania