Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition

Determinants of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Patterns of Complementary Feeding Practices in Mecca City, Saudi Arabia
Pages 80-89
Laura E. Clark and Deborah J. Rhea


Published: 24 May 2017


Abstract: Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends optimal feeding practices during infancy and early childhood for better health and growth of children.

Objective: To determine the factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) duration and the time of introducing complementary feeding (CF) in Mecca City, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This cross-sectional study recruited 814 Saudi mothers. All mothers filled out a closed questionnaire on family sociodemographics, health status of mothers and infants, and postpartum breastfeeding habits and patterns. The patterns of CF and bottle-feeding were examined, and binary logistic regression was performed.

Results: The mean ± standard deviation EBF duration was 4.6 ± 2.5 months. The EBF rate showed a sharp decrease from 50.6% at birth to 14.4% at 6 months among children. Employment of mothers, weight at childbirth <2.5 kg, weight of 2.6–3 kg at child birth, postnatal disease in infants, and pacifier use for infants were associated with a low EBF rate. Intermediate education of the mother was found to increase EBF duration as compared to mothers with higher levels of education. Most mothers introduced plant-based CFs to infants at 4 months of age (median), but animal-based CFs were introduced only after 8 months (median). The median age of starting milk formula was 3 months.

Conclusion and Recommendation: The reported rate of EBF is far below the current international recommendations. The patterns of CF practices and bottle-feeding differ widely from the WHO recommendations in Mecca City. National campaigns should be implemented to promote EBF in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Bottle-feeding, Complementary feeding, Exclusive breastfeeding, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.


Submit to FacebookSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn