Recently, there has been increasing concern about the decline in breast-feeding pattern in developing countries. The objectives of this study were to document the recent breast-feeding trends in Jeddah during the first year of an infant's life and identify the probable maternal risk factors implicated in breast-feeding cessation. Data were collected from six randomly selected primary health care centres in Jeddah City. All married women with an infant ≤ 12 completed months of age were interviewed, and information on socio-demographic characteristics, breast feeding and contraceptive use were collected. Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to calculate the adjusted odds ratios for the various maternal risk factors related to breast-feeding cessation.
A total of 400 women were enrolled in the study. Their mean age at delivery was 28.0 years (SD = 4.1 years). Approximately 40.0% had never attended school, 43.0% had at least five children and 13.8% were smokers. Deliveries by caesarean section were reported by 13.0% of women and contraceptive use by 44.7%, among whom oral contraceptives were the commonest method. Around 94.0% of women ever initially breast fed their infants, and this proportion dropped to 40.0% by the infant's 12th month. Women who delivered by caesarean section (OR = 1.9 [95% CI 1.3, 2.8]P = 0.001) and those who used oral contraceptives (OR = 1.5 [95% CI 1.1, 2.2]P = 0.031) were at higher risk of stopping breast feeding and lower probability of maintaining breast feeding to the 12th month post partum than those who delivered vaginally and did not use oral contraceptives.
Breast-feeding practice seems to decline rapidly during the first year of the infant's life. Health care professionals should promote breast-feeding practice as early as the antenatal period. They should also take into consideration the impact of caesarean section deliveries and early oral contraceptive use to avoid their negative impact on breast-feeding practice.