Patterns of breastfeeding practice during the first 6 months of life in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Med J. 2008 Mar;29(3):427-31.


Objective: To assess the breastfeeding practices in the first 6 months of infants at King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at KAMC in 2005. Infants who attended the primary care centers and well-baby clinic of the hospital for the 6-month's vaccine were included. Mothers were interviewed to collect information on the mothers, infants, and their breastfeeding practice. World Health Organization definitions were used for classification of infant nutrition patterns.

Results: Five hundred seventy eight infants were included in this study. The breastfeeding initiation among the sample was 95%. Most mothers supplemented the infants with milk formula (83.4%) or fluids (94%) during the first 6 months. The percent of exclusive breastfeeding was 1.7% and the partial breastfeeding breast milk with formula was the most common type of feeding (78.8%). Lactation duration dropped to 50% at 6 months of age. Factors favoring the milk formula use were introduction of the formula in the first day of life and maternal reasons of inadequate milk. Lactation duration and formula introduction were found to be significantly associated with mothers' parity, working status, and combined contraceptive pill use.

Conclusion: Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was extremely low in our population. Partial breastfeeding was the trend for feeding in the first 6 months of life, which was accompanied with rapid decline in lactation duration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Saudi Arabia