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To assess the relationships between maternal breast-feeding intention, attitudes, self-efficacy and knowledge at 7 months’ gestation with exclusive or full breast-feeding at 3months postpartum.
Prospective cohort study with structured home interviews during pregnancy and 3 months after delivery.
Two rural sub-districts of Kishoreganj district, Bangladesh.
Over 80 % of 2178 pregnant women intended to exclusively breast-feed (EBF). Maternal positive attitudes, self-efficacy and knowledge about breast-feeding were positively associated with EBF intention (all P<0·05). All mothers except one reported initiating breast-feeding and 99·6 % of children were still breast-fed at 3 months. According to 24 h dietary recalls, we categorized 985 (45·2 %) infants as EBF at 3 months (47·8 % among mothers with EBF intention; 31·7 % among mothers with no EBF intention; P<0·05) and 551 (25·3 %) infants as predominantly breast-fed at 3 months (24·2 % among mothers with EBF intention; 30·8 % among mothers with no EBF intention; P<0·05). Prenatal EBF intention was associated with EBF (OR=1·48, 95 % CI 1·14, 1·91) and with full breast-feeding (OR=1·34, 95 % CI 1·04, 1·72) at age 3 months. EBF at age 3months was not associated with maternal breast-feeding knowledge, attitudes or self-efficacy.
Despite widespread expressed maternal EBF intention and universal breast-feeding initiation, prevalence of both exclusive and full breast-feeding at 3months remains lower than WHO recommendations. EBF intention predicts breast-feeding behaviours, suggesting the importance of prenatal counselling to improve infant feeding behaviours.
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