Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that affect exclusive breastfeeding of healthy babies aged 0-4 months.
Background: Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend feeding babies of 0-6 months exclusively with breast milk and starting complementary foods after the sixth month. In Turkey, however, a vast majority of babies 1-5 months of age (89.4%) are given complementary foods.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in central Ankara province, with a sampling of 514 individuals who were selected using the convenience sampling method.
Results: Of the 514 mothers who participated in my research, 260 (50.6%) were found to be feeding their babies exclusively with breast milk; 77 (15.0%), with breast milk + water; 87 (16.9%), with breast milk + baby formula; 70 (13.6%), with breast milk + baby formula + other foods; and 20 (3.9%), baby formula + other foods. Based on multivariate logistic regression analysis results, the mother's employment [odds ratio (OR) = 0.488; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.288-0.827) considerably reduced the incidence of complementary foods, while frequent crying of the baby (OR = 1.687; 95% CI = 1.125-2.530) significantly increased the use of supplementary foods in infant nutrition.
Conclusion: This study concluded that frequent crying of the baby increases the likelihood of giving the baby complementary foods. Midwives and nurses can encourage exclusive breastfeeding behaviour by providing individual education and counselling to women whose babies cry frequently.
Relevance to clinical practice: Exclusive breastfeeding of babies aged 0-6 months is crucial for the development and growth of the baby and instrumental in reducing infant morbidities and mortalities. One factor that increases the likelihood of provision of complementary foods is frequent crying of the baby. Midwives and nurses can encourage exclusive breastfeeding behaviour by providing individual education and counselling to women whose babies cry frequently.