Background: Delaying the start of breastfeeding and giving prelacteal feeding leads to a significant increase in neonatal and infant deaths, particularly in a resource limited countries, like Ethiopia. Therefore, this study aimed to assess early neonatal feeding practice and its determinants in Dabat HDSS site, northwest Ethiopia.
Methods: The census for the reconciliation of the surveillance of the Dabat Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) site was conducted from October to December 2014. Data were entered into the Household Registration System (HRS) version 2.1 and analyzed using Stata version 14. A total of 6,761 mother-child pairs were included in the study. Sociodemographic factors, maternal health care and early neonatal feeding practices (early initiation of breastfeeding and prelacteal feeding) were collected by interviewing the mothers. The prevalence of early/timely initiation of breastfeeding was computed as the ratio of children put to the breast within one hour of delivery to the total number of children. Prelacteal feeding was defined as giving anything to drink other than breast milk in the first three days following birth. Binary logistic regression models were used to identify variables which were associated with the dependent variable. A multivariable logistic regression analysis was carried out to identify factors associated with early initiation of breastfeeding.
Results: The prevalence of early initiation of breastfeeding was 43.9% (95% CI, 41.6, 46.2). More than half (56%) of the mothers gave prelacteal feeds. An urban residence (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 1.47, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.25. 1.73) and antenatal care (AOR 1.41, 95% CI 1.24, 1.59) were correlated with early initiation of breastfeeding. Similarly, increased odds of timely initiation of breastfeeding were observed among mothers who didn't give prelacteal feeds (AOR 5.72; 95% CI, 5.12, 6.40).
Conclusion: Delayed initiation of breastfeeding and prelacteal feeding still remain public health concerns in this community. The promotion of improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices and the utilization of antenatal care services should be intensified.