Factors associated with prelacteal feeding practices in a rural northern Nigerian setting
Introduction: Prelacteal feeding practice contravenes the recommendation of World Health Organisation that breastfeeding be initiated within an hour of childbirth. Consequently, the health, social, emotional and economic benefits of optimal breastfeeding are limited. Therefore, to break this vicious cycle of prelacteal feeding and suboptimal breastfeeding, factors associated with the practice must be identified.
Objective: To assess prelacteal feeding practices and its associated factors in a rural community with the view to generate data for community-level interventions that will promote optimal breastfeeding.
Methods: Data was collected during a community-based surveillance for maternal, newborn and child health project in Tsibiri, a rural community in north-western Nigeria. The survey questionnaire was uploaded into mobile devices running on an android operating system. Trained female interviewers collected the data over a period of one week in 2011.
Results: A total of 270 out of 309 interviewed women had experienced childbirth and were included in the analysis. Majority (85.2%) of respondents utilised prelacteal feeds for their newborns. Plain water was the most common prelacteal feed (44.7%). Prelacteal feeding was associated with births assisted by unskilled birth attendants (AOR 5.322, 95%CI 1.634-17.333); while operative delivery reduced the likelihood of the practice (AOR 0.168, 95%CI 0.060-0.470). No statistically significant association was found between use of prelacteal feed and women’s age, education or access to income.
Conclusion: The predominance of prelacteal feeding practices underscores the need for innovative strategies that create awareness among mothers and health care providers, with emphasis on health facility deliveries, advantages of breastfeeding and risks of prelacteal feeding.
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