BackgroundEarly initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF) is a predetermining factor for exclusive breastfeeding, and thus a foundation for optimal breastfeeding practices. Rates of EIBF are low globally (42%) and in Tanzania (51%), yet few studies have been done on this issue in Tanzania. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with early initiation of breastfeeding among women in northern Tanzania.
MethodologyThis study extracted information from a cohort of 536 women who were followed from 3rd trimester period October 2013 to December 2015 in Moshi municipal, northern Tanzania. The data for this paper was collected by the use of questionnaires at enrolment, delivery and 7 days after delivery. The analysis is based on data from 413 women for whom complete information was obtained. Log binomial regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with early initiation of breastfeeding.
ResultsThe prevalence of EIBF was 83%. Overall, women had high knowledge on colostrum (94%), knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding (81%) and time of breastfeeding initiation (71%), but only 54% were counseled on breastfeeding during antenatal care. Knowledge on timely initiation of breastfeeding during pregnancy and vaginal delivery were associated with EIBF.
ConclusionEarly initiation of breastfeeding is high (83%) in Moshi Municipal but still below the universal coverage recommended by WHO and UNICEF. There is missed opportunity by health facilities to counsel and support early initiation of breastfeeding given high antenatal and facility delivery in this setting. There is a need to evaluate health facility bottle necks to optimal support of early initiation of breastfeeding in Tanzania.
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