Background: Breastfeeding is accepted as the natural form of infant feeding. For mothers to be able to breastfeed exclusively to the recommended six months, it is important to understand the factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding. The aim of the study was to identify factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding in Peninsular Malaysia.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 682 mother-infant pairs with infants up to six months attending maternal and child health section of the government health clinics in Klang, Malaysia. Data were collected by face-to-face interviews using a pre-tested structured questionnaire over 4 months in 2006. Data on breastfeeding were based on practice in the previous one month period. Logistic regression was used to assess the independent association between the independent variables and exclusive breastfeeding adjusting for infant age.
Results: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers with infants aged between one and six months was 43.1% (95% CI: 39.4, 46.8). In the multivariate model exclusive breastfeeding was positively associated with rural residence, Malay mothers, non-working and non-smoking mothers, multiparous mothers, term infants, mothers with husbands who support breastfeeding and mothers who practice bed-sharing.
Conclusions: Interventions that seek to increase exclusive breastfeeding should focus on women who are at risk of early discontinuation of breastfeeding.