Background: Exclusive breastfeeding in infants aged under six months is a simple and cost-effective feeding method that ensures better infant and child survival and boosts the achievement of child related Millennium Development Goals in the developing world. Identifying factors associated with good breastfeeding practice helps to increase its coverage and maximize its advantages through improved advocacy. The objective of this study was to identify the predictors of non-exclusive breastfeeding in the rural areas of eastern Ethiopia.
Methods: A community-based analytical cross-sectional study was conducted on mother/caregiver-child pairs in east Ethiopia from July to August 2011. Data on infant feeding practices were collected by trained interviewers who used a pretested and structured questionnaire. Odds ratio with a 95% confidence interval was estimated for the predictors of non-exclusive breastfeeding using the multivariable logistic regression.
Results: The prevalence of non-exclusive breastfeeding in infants aged under six months, was 28.3%. Non-exclusive breastfeeding was more likely to be practiced by mothers who were not married at the moment [AOR (95% CI) = 2.6 (1.1, 6.0)], mothers who had no access to health facility [AOR (95% CI) = 2.9 (1.9, 4.3)], and mothers whose knowledge about infant and young child feeding practices was low [AOR (95% CI) = 3.4 (2.4, 4.7)].
Conclusion: Non-exclusive breastfeeding was more common among mothers with no marital relationships, poor access to health facilities, and inadequate knowledge about infant and young child feeding practices. Family support, education, and behavior change communication on infant feeding, especially on exclusive breastfeeding, at the community level may improve the knowledge, behavior, and practice of mothers on optimal infant and young child feeding practices.