Determinants of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers less than 25 years attending the immunization clinic at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital
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Introduction and background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends Exclusive Brest Feeding (EBF) for six months. The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding is still low and the duration of breastfeeding is also unsatisfactory especially in mothers under 25 years. In Uganda about 63% of infants below 6 months are exclusively breastfed and this is below the recommendations by the WHO. Understanding the factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding among mothers less than 25 years is crucial to promoting the practice. Objective: To assess the determinants of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers below the age of 25 who were attending the immunization clinic at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) Methods: A facility based cross-sectional study design was used at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and it involved the use of quantitative data collection method. Systematic sampling was used to select 380 mothers less than 25 years with infants less than 6 months attending the immunization clinic at MRRH. Results: Exclusive breastfeeding among mothers less than 25 years in MRRH was 46.8% (178/380). Significant factors that influenced exclusive breastfeeding among mothers were; employment sector of the mother and breast problems. Mothers without breast problems were almost 4 times more likely to exclusively breastfeed their infants compared to mothers with breast problems (AOR 3.9 CI 1.4-10.8). Infants with mothers who were self- employed were more likely to EBF (AOR 9.5, CI 3.2-41.3) compared to infants of mothers who were working with the Public and private sector. Conclusions; Generally EBF was low among mothers below 25 years who were attending the immunization clinic at MRRH. Mothers without breast problems and those who were self-employed were more likely to EBF their infants. Recommendations: This study emphasizes the need for interventions focusing improvement of Exclusive breast feeding among mothers below 25 years, especially use of Peer counselors to act as models in order to improve on EBF, community sensitization and a need for more research involving qualitative data methods on the determinants of EBF.