Determinants of optimal breast-feeding in peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala

Type Journal Article - Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica
Title Determinants of optimal breast-feeding in peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala
Volume 12
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 185-192

This survey was conducted to identify factors affecting early initiation of breast-feeding and exclusive breast-feeding among mothers in peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala.

In early November 1999 a census was begun in four communities of peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala, to identify all children < 6 months old as well as all pregnant women who were expected to deliver during the two-month data-gathering period. After the census was completed, a survey of breast-feeding practices was administered to all mothers of infants < 6 months of age.

The most important determinant of early initiation of breast-feeding was place of delivery. Children born at home (odds ratio (OR) = 4.1, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-13.3) and at Ministry of Health health centers (OR = 4.9, 95% CI: 1.6-15.0) were significantly more likely than children born at private hospitals to initiate breast-feeding early. The most important determinant of exclusive breast-feeding was whether or not the mother worked outside the home. After controlling for infant's age and sex and mother's ethnicity, women who did not work outside the home were 3.2 times as likely (95% CI: 1.6-6.4) to exclusively breast-feed as were women who worked outside the home. Lack of exclusive breast-feeding was often associated with giving a bottle.

Our findings suggest that global efforts must be continued to improve breast-feeding practices in delivery hospitals. In addition, community-based support of breast-feeding is needed well after delivery. Mothers who work outside the home should be provided with options to maintain exclusive breast-feeding when they are physically separated from their infants due to the demands of work.