Introduction Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) that means “no supplemental liquids or solid foods other than medications or vitamins” is what recommended by WHO for the first 6 months of life to decrease the mortality and morbidity in infants. Statistics indicate, however, that initiation and maintenance of EBF are becoming low in our country.
Method To identify the reasons of unsuccessful EBF in 150 mother-infant pairs hospitalized in two different wards (NICU and normal nursery) in two public hospitals in 2008 in Mashhad, we conducted a prospective study which contains 3 stages. At first mothers were interviewed in hospital at the time of discharge and completed 2 telephone interviews at 3 and 6 months postpartum. Finally 129 mothers remained in the study.
Results We found that 65.1% of mothers whose infants had been hospitalized in NICU initiated EBF, %51.6 continued EBF until 3 months and 40.3% completed EBF until 6 months postpartum. These percents were respectively 85.1%, 70.1% and 49.3% for normal nursery infants’ mothers. Also we found that hospitalization in NICU, lower birth weight and gestational age, longer duration of hospitalization and NPO duration and having more than two infants in one delivery have negative effects on being successful in EBF.
Conclusion Prevention and timely resolution of breastfeeding problems among NICU infants’ mothers is what we recommend based on this study results. Better quality lactation training for both mothers and their husbands may be useful too.
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