Factors associated with optimal feeding practices among mothers with children aged 0-24 months in Soroti county
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Introduction: Infant and young child feeding practices directly affect the nutritional status and survival of children under two years. Poor feeding practices by caregivers have been identified as a major cause of under nutrition among infant and children, therefore promotion of optimal feeding practices are critical in health and development of children Objectives: The study was to assess the knowledge, practices and maternal factors associated with optimal feeding practices among mothers of children aged 0-24 months in Soroti County. Methodology: The study was cross sectional community based among mothers with children aged 0-24 months in Soroti County, knowledge, practices, maternal factors were assessed. Systematic sampling was done and 422 mother-child pairs were enrolled, semi structured pre-tested questionnaires were used in data collection. Data analysis, bivariate and multivariate analyses were done to explain relationship between maternal factors and optimal feeding practices. Results: Social demographic characteristics: The majority of mothers were within age of 17-29, 230/400 (57.50 %), earned ugx10000-100000, 230/400 (57.50%) and were married 323/400 (80.75%). More than half 265/400 (66.25%) attained primary education. Catholics and Protestants were nearly equally distributed 202/400, 198/400 (50.50%, 49.50%). More than half 274 /400 (68.50%) had informal employment, and 298/400 (74.50%) of the children were female. Knowledge on timing optimal feeding practices: Almost all mothers 391/400 (98%) were knowledgeable about timing of early initiation of breastfeeding, the majority of mothers were knowledgeable about timing exclusive breastfeeding 323/400 (81%), 334/400 (84%) timely introduction of complimentary feeds and 349 (87 %) continued breastfeeding up to two years. Infant and Young child Feeding Practices: Early initiation of breastfeeding was reported to have been practiced by 373/400 (93%) mothers exclusive breast feeding reported to have been practiced by 119/145 (82%) mothers, timely introduction of complementary feeds was reported to have been practiced by 36/93 (39%) mothers, and continued breast feeding up to 2 years was reported to have been practiced by 33/108 (31%) mothers. Maternal factors associated with optimal feeding practice: Results shows that mothers who were married, gave birth at health facility were more likely to practice early initiation of breast feeding within one hour and mothers who were not knowledgeable about early initiation of breast feeding were less likely to practice. While mothers who attends ANC more than 4 time, give birth at health facility were more likely to practice exclusive breast feeding. Mothers who were knowledgeable about timing of timely complementary feeding were more likely to practice and mothers who were 30 years and above were less likely to continued breast feeding up to two years. Conclusion: In conclusion mothers were highly knowledgeable on early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour after giving birth, exclusive breastfeeding for six months, timely introduction of complementary foods at six months and continued breastfeeding up to 24 months and beyond. Majority of the mothers reported to have practiced early initiation of breast feeding with one hour of giving birth and exclusive breast feeding for six months. Timely introduction of complementary foods and continued breastfeeding up to 24 months and beyond was reported to have been poorly practiced. Factors that were significantly associated with: early initiation of breastfeeding were marriage, health facility birth and not being knowledgeable. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months was associated with were ANC attendance for at least 4 times and health facility birth. Timely introduction of complementary foods was associated with being knowledgeable and continued breastfeeding up to 24 months was associated with maternal age.