Background: Exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months of life is recommended under Infant and Young Child Feeding practices in India. The objective of present study was to estimate the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding during first 6 months of life of babies and to identify factors that interfere with the practice in the study area. Methods: A prospective cohort of 462 women who delivered at maternity unit of Government Medical College & Hospital, Rajkot, which is a tertiary care centre for the district, was studied. Data collection was done at hospital as well as during home visits of babies at 1, 3 and 6 months. Factors related to cessation of breastfeeding were analyzed using univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis. Results: All 462 mothers reported breastfeeding their newborns. Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding reported at 3 months was 97% which declined to 62% by 6 months of age of infants. Bivariate analysis revealed no significant association between interruption of exclusive breastfeeding before 6 months of age and various demographic, socioeconomic, maternal and infant characteristics. Multivariate analysis by logistic regression demonstrated no association between discontinuation of exclusive breastfeeding and socioeconomic status, maternal education and maternal age, number of antenatal visits, maternal employment and initiation of breastfeeding after delivery. Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding prevalence rate found higher than at national level indicating better feeding practices in these part of India. Also, factors classically considered as supportive for breastfeeding had shown no association with breastfeeding pattern in present study
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