Factors associated with prelacteal feeding in the rural population of northwest Ethiopia: a community cross-sectional study

Amare Tariku, Gashaw Andargie Biks, Molla Mesele Wassie, Abebaw Gebeyehu, Azeb Atinafu Getie

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Background: Prelacteal feeding has continued as a deep-rooted nutritional malpractice in developing countries. Prelacteal feeding is a barrier for implementation of optimal breastfeeding practices, and increases the risk of neonatal illness and mortality. However, its determinants are not well studied, which are essential to design intervention. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and determinants of prelacteal feeding among mothers with children aged 6-24 months in the rural population of northwest Ethiopia. Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in Dabat Health and Demographic Surveillance System site, Dabat district, northwest Ethiopia from May 01 to June 29, 2015. Eight hundred and twenty-two mother-child pairs were included in the study. A pretested and structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was carried out to identify the determinants of prelacteal feeding. Results: In this community, about 26.8% of children were given prelacteal feeds. The odds of prelacteal feeding was higher among mothers with a poor knowledge of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 3.82; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 2.42, 6.04), who gave birth at home (AOR = 3.74; 95% CI 2.12, 6.60), and who were in the lowest wealth status (AOR = 2.11; 95% CI 1.35, 3.31). Conclusions: Prelacteal feeding was common in the study area, and significantly associated with a poor household wealth status, poor maternal knowledge of IYCF, and giving birth at home. Thus, emphasis should be given to improve mothers IYCF knowledge and utilization of institutional delivery. Moreover, special attention should be given to mothers with poor socio-economic status to reduce the practice of prelacteal feeding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Breastfeeding Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethiopia
  • Home birth
  • Poor knowledge of IYCF
  • Poor wealth status
  • Prelacteal feeding


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