Factors influencing complementary and weaning practices among women in rural communities of Sokoto state, Nigeria
Introduction: When breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet a child's nutritional needs, foods other than breast milk are introduced gradually into the baby's diet, first to complement breast feeding and progressively to replace it and get the child used to adult diet. This study aimed to assess the factors influencing complementary and weaning practices among women in rural communities of Sokoto state, Nigeria. Methods: It was a cross-sectional study. Using a multi-staged sampling technique, 296 mothers of children 6-24 months were recruited. Data was collected using a pretested structured questionnaire and analyzed using IBM SPSS version 20. Chi square test was used to test associations between categorical variables. Binary logistic and multinomial regression was used to compute the determinants of complementary and weaning practices. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Ethical approval was obtained from the State Ethical Committee. Results: Timely introduction of complementary feeds was commenced in 54% of the children. Only 6.2% weaned their children at 6 months; 90.5% weaned their children gradually and 63.5% bottle fed. Factors influencing complementary and weaning practices was found to be child's age; maternal age and family setting. Conclusion: The respect of World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on complementary and weaning practices was suboptimal. It was also evident from this study that complementary and weaning practices were influenced by maternal and house-hold factors. It is therefore important to develop interventions aimed at bridging the gap between these practices in rural settings and WHO recommendations.