Exclusive breastfeeding knowledge and its determinants among new mothers at Kawempe National Referral Hospital
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Introduction: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) refers to the practice of feeding a baby on only breast milk for the first six months of life. The practice is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the knowledge of a mother plays a key role in this practice. It is effective in preventing infant morbidity and mortality. EBF is a key determinant in the nutritional status of infants and children. Studies also indicate that exclusively breastfed infants experience less morbidity from gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders than those that are mixed fed. A study carried out by UNICEF in 2009, indicated that malnutrition rates in Kampala stood at 3.7% wasting, 8.1%stunting and 2.6% underweight which was relatively high compared to that of Uganda that was at 38%, 6% and 16% respectively. These rates have also been linked to the high infant mortality rate of 76 deaths per 1000 live births. The study also indicated that one of the contributing factors is poor feeding practices of the babies. It is as well important to note that babies should always be fed on colostrum immediately after birth. Globally, mothers’ ways of mixed feeding is a big public health concern which is being fought tirelessly in Uganda. These studies did not indicate the knowledge and determinants associated with EBF among new mothers that this study intends to assess which will help in development of interventions to improve the existing results for the better. Objective To assess the EBF knowledge, practice and its determinants among new mothers at Kawempe National referral Hospital. Methodology: A hospital based cross-sectional study design that utilizes quantitative data collection methods will be used. Participants will be new mothers especially those seeking postnatal care at Kawempe National Referral hospital. Semi-structured questionnaires will be designed and used to collect quantitative data. Quantitative data will be collected and entered into the Kobo collect electronic tool and later exported and cleaned in STATA version 16 where descriptive statistics of the different study variables will be conducted. Bivariate and multivariate analysis of z-test will be conducted to determine the proportions of the associated practices variables in regard to the knowledge levels. The results will then be disseminated through report writing to the different stakeholders. Results The mean age of the respondents was 27.5 years (standard deviation 5.1 years). Most of the participants attained secondary education (31.8%, 56/176), were married (51.1%, 90.176), were Catholics (34.7%, 61/176), were Baganda by tribe (43.9%, 72/176) and resided in an urban area (52.8%, 93/176). Most of the study participants (97.7%, 172/176) received counselling services during their pregnancy. Majority of the participants strongly agreed that EBF should be practiced up to 6 months (76.1%, 134/196) and should commence immediately after childbirth (43.2%, 76/176). The participants breastfed their babies a mean number of 3.2 times (standard deviation of 2.5). For mothers with babies below 6 months, the mothers were willing to exclusively breastfeed for mean duration of 5.4 months (standard deviation of 1.2 months). For mothers with babies older than 6 months, the mothers exclusively breastfed for mean duration of 4.9 months (standard deviation of 1.4 months). Conclusion New mothers attending Kawempe National Referral Hospital (KNRH) had heard about exclusive breastfeeding and were practicing it.