Risk Factors Associated with Initiation of Breastfeeding among Mothers with Low Birth Weight Babies: A Cross-sectional Multicenter Study in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
BACKGROUND: Early initiation of breastfeeding is important for good lactation outcomes and has long been recommended by the World Health Organization. Recommendations are based on research showing that breastfeeding saves childrenâ€™s lives, particularly among vulnerable populations such as low birth weight (LBW) neonates. In spite of a consistent rise in LBW deliveries, and in spite of the importance of breastfeeding for the survival of LBW neonates, a dearth of research exists regarding early initiation of breastfeeding for this population.
AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of, and factors associated with the initiation of breastfeeding among mothers with children aged <2 years who were LBW in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
METHODS: The data for this cross-sectional study were extracted from a larger project on the evaluation of breastfeeding practices in Abu Dhabi. The original data were collected from seven health-care centers located in different urban and suburban areas of Abu Dhabi during 2017. A structured questionnaire was used by trained research assistants who collected relevant data from mothers during the interview.
RESULTS: The study included a total of 1822 mothers of children below the age of 2 years; 175 (9.6%) of those children were identified as LBW. The mean standard deviation [SD] ages of the mothers and the children were 30.5 (5.0) years and 6.0 (5.1) months, respectively. The mean birth weight (SD) of the LBW children was 2079.6 (255.0) grams. Forty (29.9%) mothers of LBW children initiated breastfeeding within the 1
st h. Sixty-four (47.8%) were delivered vaginally, and 70 (52.2%) were delivered through cesarean section (CS). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, the only factor associated with delayed initiation of breastfeeding among the LBW children was CS (adjusted odds ratio 2.33; 95% confidence interval 1.07, 5.07).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of LBW was 9.6%, and it was associated with delayed initiation of breastfeeding as compared to the normal birth weight babies. While early initiation of breastfeeding should be promoted for all newborns, LBW infants are recognized as a vulnerable group and thus require additional support. There should be more emphasis on promoting and facilitating breastfeeding for LBW babies, especially those delivered by CS.
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