Background: In Bangladesh, poor infant and young child feeding practices are contributing to the burden of infectious diseases and malnutrition. Objective. To estimate the determinants of selected feeding practices and key indicators of breastfeeding and complementary feeding in Bangladesh.
Methods: The sample included 2482 children aged 0 to 23 months from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey of 2004. The World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended infant and young child feeding indicators were estimated, and selected feeding indicators were examined against a set of individual-, household-, and community-level variables using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: Only 27.5% of mothers initiated breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, 99.9% had ever breastfed their infants, 97.3% were currently breastfeeding, and 22.4% were currently bottle-feeding. Among infants under 6 months of age, 42.5% were exclusively breastfed, and among those aged 6 to 9 months, 62.3% received complementary foods in addition to breastmilk. Among the risk factors for an infant not being exclusively breastfed were higher socioeconomic status, higher maternal education, and living in the Dhaka region. Higher birth order and female sex were associated with increased rates of exclusive breastfeeding of infants under 6 months of age. The risk factors for bottle-feeding were similar and included having a partner with a higher educational level (OR = 2.17), older maternal age (OR for age > or = 35 years = 2.32), and being in the upper wealth quintiles (OR for the richest = 3.43). Urban mothers were at higher risk for not initiating breastfeeding within the first hour after birth (OR = 1.61). Those who made three to six visits to the antenatal clinic were at lower risk for not initiating breastfeeding within the first hour (OR = 0.61). The rate of initiating breastfeeding within the first hour was higher in mothers from richer households (OR = 0.37).
Conclusions: Most breastfeeding indicators in Bangladesh were below acceptable levels. Breastfeeding promotion programs in Bangladesh need nationwide application because of the low rates of appropriate infant feeding indicators, but they should also target women who have the main risk factors, i.e., working mothers living in urban areas (particularly in Dhaka).