Objective: To identify the factors influencing adherence to exclusive breast feeding (EBF) among HIV positive mothers in Kabarole district, Uganda.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Kabarore district, western Uganda.
Subjects: HIV infected women attending for psychosocial support that adhered or did not adhere to EBF.
Main outcome measures: We compared personal factors, influence from other people, barriers and supports towards adherence to EBF among 139 HIV infected women who adhered and among 139 women who did not adhere to EBF using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: The independent predictors of adherence to EBF are: having formal education (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 2.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-4.84), knowledge of EBF as a method of preventing mother to child transmission of HIV (AOR 2.53, CI 1.11-5.75), attending at least four antenatal infant feeding counselling sessions (AOR 3.86, CI 1.82-8.19), attending at least six postnatal counselling sessions (AOR 12.52, CI 3.89-40.30), health workers being consulted for breastfeeding problems (AOR 13.11, CI 3.75-45.81), mothers thinking that they are able to produce enough milk (AOR 3.92, CI 1.74-8.84), initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth (AOR 10.17, CI 4.52-22.88), getting support from the father to EBF (AOR 5.27, CI 1.87-14.81) and getting support from the family to EBF (AOR 4.54, CI 2.09-9.84).
Conclusion: In order to improve adherence to EBF there is need to: involve the family especially fathers in infant feeding counselling and education, target less educated mothers for more intense infant feeding counselling using appropriate methods, intensify education on benefits of EBF and on how to produce enough milk and to encourage mothers to attend regularly for ante-natal and post-natal care.