Patterns of Infant Feeding Practices in the First Six Months of Life in Fatema AL- Zahra Hospital in Baghdad


ABSTRACT:BACK GROUND:Breastfeeding is of great benefits to the baby and mother in so many ways. Breastfeeding has been found to provide a measure of protection against the attacks of ear infections, upper respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal disorders. Breastfeeding has an emotional benefit by initiation of bonding between mother and baby .Knowledge of when and why women discontinue breastfeeding is of great important when make a plan aimed at increasing both the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. OBJECTIVE :This study was conducted to, 1. detect Patterns of breastfeeding practice during the first 6 months of life, 2.identify the age at when bottle feeding started, and verify the causes to start bottle feeding . METHODS:Parents of 1000 infants seen during a routine visit at the Breastfeeding consultation Clinic (BCC), in the outpatient department in Fatema Al Zahra hospital were interviewed by the researchers from 1st of July 2016 to 30th of June 2017 . The mothers were asked about , the mother's age ,job, and education, infant`s age, Sex, birth order, type of feeding, when to start formula, and why. Inclusion criteria were: women, between 16-40 years who came with their infants for vaccination, and had delivered during the last 12 months.RESULTS: It was observed that breast feeding was maintained at a high level (more than 64.6%) throughout infancy while exclusive breast feeding showed a rapid decline. The rate of exclusive breast feeding at 6th month was 28.3%. The birth order of the infant, and mother`s age, job, and education were important factors determining exclusive breast feeding rate.The most common causes for adding bottle feeding were, milk insufficiency in 25.2 % of cases, Mother`s pregnancy in 19.9 %, and Infant`s crying after feeding in 14.2%. The advice of starting bottle feeding were recommended by family in 18.9% of cases , by Pediatrician in 29.1 %, by Gynecologist in 3.2 % of cases , and in 48.6 % of cases the mothers start bottle feeding by her opinion. CONCLUION:Breast feeding as such was maintained at a high level for the first 12 months of life while the practice of exclusive breast feeding(EBF) was much lower . Mother's age, job, and education have an impacts on exclusive breastfeeding rate. Medical personnel and family have great role in continuation of EBF and breastfeeding.The most common causes for adding bottle feeding, were, milk insufficiency , Mother`s pregnancy and infant`s crying after feeding..