Factors that influence exclusive breast feeding in children aged 0-6 months among mothers attending Young Child’s Clinic (YCC) at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale District
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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life for optimal growth, development and health. Breastfeeding should continue up to two years or more and nutritionally adequate, safe, and complementary foods should be introduced at the age of six months to meet the increased needs of the growing infant. According to The World breastfeeding trends Initiative, 2012, exclusive breastfeeding rates at less than six months are currently at 32%. However, various factors associated with sub-optimal breast feeding and complementary feeding practices have been identified in various settings. The purpose of this study was to establish how these factors influence breastfeeding practices of children for the first six months of life. The study was guided by the following objectives; 1.To determine Knowledge, Attitude and practices carried out by mothers that influence successful exclusive breast feeding. 2. To determine the nutrition status of mother and child. 3. To establish factors affecting successful EBF among mothers attending YCC at MRRH. on exclusive breastfeeding of children for the first six months after birth. The study adopted a cross sectional survey design. The study targeted children from birth to six months of age at the Young Child’s Clinic (YCC). A sample of 70 respondents was used for this study. Data was collected using a researcher administered questionnaire and focus group discussion guide. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 16.0) was used for data analysis. Results were presented using tables. Of the sampled children 50% were males and 50% were females. The percentage of mothers with secondary education was the highest at 60%. Family contributions were the main source of income for households at 54.3%. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding was 40%. Maternal perception on insufficient milk production was responsible for 11.4% of the mothers that had given complementary feeds based on 24hour dietary recall. Advice of relatives was also reported by 5.7% for the cases of early introduction of complementary feeding since birth. Married mothers however reported higher exclusive breastfeeding rates (51.4%) than single mothers (8.6). The exclusive breastfeeding rate at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital (40%) is below the level recommended by WHO (90%). Recommendations were mothers to form care and support groups where they share experiences about breastfeeding, Government of Uganda to put up policies which allow breast feeding mothers to breastfeed at their work place and to also form a community centered approach to involve mothers in EBF. The findings and recommendations will be shared with stake holders such as the people who offer services at the hospital.