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Exclusive breast-feeding is rarely practised in rural and urban Morogoro, Tanzania

  • Restituta Shirima (a1), Ted Greiner (a2), Elisabeth Kylberg (a2) and Mehari Gebre-Medhin (a2)

Abstract

Objective:

To investigate and compare feeding practices among infants of less than 7 months of age in a rural and an urban area in Tanzania.

Design:

Cross-sectional, questionnaire-based interview of mothers and focus group discussions with extension workers and community leaders.

Setting:

Eleven villages in a rural district and 10 wards in an urban district in the Morogoro region, Tanzania, west of Dar es Salaam.

Subjects:

Probability samples of mothers with infants of less than 7 months of age (n = 320 from each area).

Results:

Exclusive breast-feeding was rarely practised in either the rural or urban areas investigated. However, the urban mothers initiated breast-feeding earlier, discarded colostrum less frequently, breast-fed exclusively for a longer period, gave breast milk as the first feed more often and delayed the introduction of solid foods for longer than their rural counterparts. The rural mothers, on the other hand, breast-fed their previous infants slightly longer than the urban mothers.

Conclusions:

The better performance of urban mothers could be partly due to sustained breast-feeding support in hospital settings and other campaigns which may not have reached the rural areas. In both the rural and urban areas more efforts are needed to encourage exclusive breast-feeding, to avoid premature complementation and, in the case of the urban areas, to protect extended breast-feeding.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email mehari.gebre-medhin@ich.uu.se

References

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