Background: Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants. World Health Organization (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for six months which has a great contribution in reducing under five mortality, which otherwise leads to death of 88/1000 live birth yearly in Ethiopia. Hence, this study aimed to assess prevalence of EBF and associated factors in mothers in the city of Bahir Dar, Northwest Ethiopia.
Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from 10 to 25 June 2012 among mothers who delivered 12 months earlier in Bahir Dar city, Northwest Ethiopia. A cluster sampling technique was used to select a sample of 819 participants. Data were collected using a structured and pre-tested questionnaire by face-to-face interview technique. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to check associations and control confounding.
Results: Of 819 mother-infant pairs sampled, the overall age appropriate rate of EBF practice was found to be 50.3%. Having a young infant aged 0-1 month (AOR = 3.77, 95% CI = 1.54, 9.24) and 2-3 months (AOR = 2.80, 95% CI = 1.71, 4.58), being a housewife (AOR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.48, 3.16), having prenatal EBF plan (AOR = 3.75, 95% CI = 2.21, 6.37), delivering at a health facility (AOR = 3.02, 95% CI = 1.55, 5.89), giving birth vaginally (AOR = 2.33, 95% CI = 1.40, 3.87) and receiving infant feeding counseling/advice (AOR = 5.20, 95% CI = 2.13, 12.68) were found to be significantly associated with EBF practice.
Conclusion: Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was low in Bahir Dar. Strengthening infant feeding advice/counseling both at the community and institutional levels, promoting institutional delivery, providing adequate pain relief and early assistance for mothers who gave birth by caesarean section, and enabling every mother a prenatal EBF plan during antenatal care were recommended in order to increase the proportion of women practicing EBF.