Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Relation to Social and Health Determinants: a Comparison of the 2006 and 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Surveys
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Background: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months can have a significant impact on reducing child morbidity and mortality rates. The objective of this study was to compare the determinants of and trends in EBF in infants =5 months from the 2006 and 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Surveys. Methods: Data on mother/infant pairs having infants of =5 months from 2006 (n = 482) and 2011 (n = 227) were analysed. The EBF rate, determinants of EBF, and changes in EBF rates between the 2006 and 2011 surveys were examined using Chi-square test and multiple logistic regression. Results: The EBF rate for =5 months in 2006 was 53.2% (95% CI, 47.1%-59.3%) and 66.3% (95% CI, 56.6%-74.8%) in 2011. In 2006, infants =4 months were more likely to be EBF [(aOR) 3.086, 95% CI (1.825-5.206)] after controlling for other factors. A geographic effect was also found in this study, with the odds of EBF higher for infants from the Hills [aOR 3.426, 95% CI (1.568-7.474)] compared to those form the mountains. The odds of EBF were also higher for higher order infants [aOR 1.968, 95% CI (1.020-3.799)]. Infants whose fathers belonged to non-agricultural occupation were less likely to be provided with EBF. Infants who were delivered in the home were more likely to experience EBF [aOR 1.886; 95% CI (1.044-3.407)]. In 2011, infants of age =4 months were more likely [aOR 4.963, 95% CI (2.317-10.629)] to have been breastfed exclusively. While there was an increase in the EBF rate between 2006 and 2011 surveys, the significant increase was noticed only among the infants of four months [32.0%; 95% CI (19.9%-47.0%)] in 2006 to [65.5%; 95% CI (48.1-79.6)] in 2011.Conclusions: The proportion of infants who were EBF was higher in Nepal in 2011survey compared to 2006 survey; however, this is still below the recommended WHO target of 90%. Infant’s age, ecological region, parity and father’s occupation were associated with EBF. Further interventions such as peer counselling, antenatal counselling and involving fathers in the community to promote EBF in Nepal are recommended.
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