Sub-optimal breastfeeding and its associated factors in rural communities of Hula District, southern Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

  • Shibru Hoche
  • Berhan Meshesha
  • Negash Wakgari
Keywords: Sub-optimal breast feeding, Hula District


Background: Sub-optimal breast feeding contributed a significant number of infants’ death. Although breast feeding is universal in Ethiopia, the practice is not optimal. Hence, this study assessed the prevalence of sub-optimal breast feeding practice and its associated factors in rural communities of Hula District, Southern Ethiopia.

Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted among 634 women with infants aged 6 to 12 months. Multistage sampling technique was employed to select study subjects. Interviewer administered structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were entered and analyzed by using SPSS version 20.0. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of delayed initiation of breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding.

Results: The prevalence of suboptimal breast feeding of infants was found to be 56.9%. Nearly half (49.4%) of the mothers delayed initiation of breast feeding, and 13.4% of the infants were fed breast non-exclusively. Having formal education [AOR: 1.74; 95% CI (1.17, 2.59)], family size < 5 [AOR=1.59; 95% CI (1.03, 2.45)], having one under five child [AOR=1.88; 95% CI (1.29, 2.75)], lower number of antenatal care visits [AOR= 2.40; 95% CI (1.68, 3.43)] and lack of counseling on breastfeeding [AOR= 1.69; 95% CI (1.19, 2.41)] were negatively associated with delayed initiation of breast feeding. Similarly, not attending formal education, low birth order and lack of knowledge about exclusive breastfeeding were also negatively associated with exclusive breastfeeding practice.

Conclusion: In this study, sub-optimal breast feeding was found to be high. Delayed initiation and non-exclusive breastfeeding practices were major contributors to sub-optimal breast feeding.

Keywords: Sub-optimal breast feeding, Hula District


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1029-1857
print ISSN: 1029-1857