Assessment of the knowledge and practices of exclusive breastfeeding amongst the breastfeeding mothers in Adjumani District, West Nile
Background: Despite national policy guidelines advocating exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life to promote and accelerate child survival, the proportion of women exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months has remained small.
Objective: To describe the knowledge and practices of mothers regarding exclusive breastfeeding in a semi-urban Ugandan population.
Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Semi-urban Ugandan population in four parishes in Adjumani District, the West Nile region of Uganda.
Subjects: The breastfeeding mothers with infants aged 3-12 months.
Results: Of the 385 breastfeeding mothers surveyed,62.6% (241/385) and 53.5% (206/385) knew the exact meaning and the recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding respectively. Nearly 68.6% (264/385) initiated breastfeeding within one hour after delivery and only 42.1% (162/385) exclusively breastfed their babies in the first six months of life. For the mothers who initiated non-breast milk feeds before the first six months of birth, most stated the following reasons:‘advice from the home’, ‘did not know the appropriate time’, baby got thirsty and baby was crying at the sight of food’.
Conclusion: This study revealed low levels of knowledge and practice of the recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding among the breastfeeding mothers. Continuous breastfeeding awareness campaigns are needed to improve knowledge and practice of exclusive breastfeeding among breastfeeding mothers.