Relationship between maternal knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding practices among mothers with infants (0-6 months) in Kibera slums, Nairobi county, Nenya
Waudo, Judith N.
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Background: Breast feeding is the best known way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of the infants. Exclusive breastfeeding has been demonstrated to have profound benefits both short-term and long-term to the mother and the infant. Despite the strong evidence on the benefits, recommended breastfeeding practices still remains low in urban slums. Women in urban poor settings usually face complex situations concerning breastfeeding due multiple challenges frequently dictated to them by their circumstances and context. Research has demonstrated that breastfeeding practices are associated with maternal knowledge. This study therefore was aimed at assessing the relationship between maternal knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding practices among mothers with infants aged 0-6 months in Kibera slum. Materials and Methods: This study adopted a cross-sectional analytical study which consisted of 293 mother-infant pairs attending health facilities within Kibera slum. Results: Study findings revealed majority of the respondents (98.3%) knew that exclusive breastfeeding was beneficial and (60.8%) had high knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding. However, only (19.2%) knew the benefits of colostrum. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding practice was 60.8% and mothers who initiated breastfeeding at the recommended time were 73.4%. However, about half (44.7%) of the mothers still gave post-lacteal feeds regardless of the high knowledge. The results further showed that only the practice on introduction to food was significantly associated with maternal knowledge. Nevertheless, other practices were not significantly associated with maternal knowledge. Conclusions: Maternal knowledge has been found to associate with exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding practices. However it is good to note that high maternal knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding does not necessarily translate into practices.