INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to question the practices of mothers on breastfeeding and complementary feeding (CF) in infancy and early childhood in a babyfriendly university hospital and investigate child- and family-related factors on child nutrition practices.
METHODS: Mothers of 1236-months-old babies who applied to Sivas Cumhuriyet University Hospital Pediatric Clinic for any reason and had no disease that prevented breastfeeding were included in the study. Sociodemographic characteristics, birth information of the baby, breastfeeding status, and CF practices were questioned to the participants.
RESULTS: A total of 245 mothers who had children between 12 and 36 months participated in the study. The mean age of the mothers was 30.5±5.3 years; 54.3% of them were housewives. Of the total mothers, 100 were currently actively breastfeeding, and 145 mothers (59.2%) had stopped breastfeeding. Overall, 98% of all participants had breastfed for some time. The rate of breastfeeding in the first hour after birth was 53.1%. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding (EB) in the first 6 months was 32.2%. There was no statistically significant relationship between maternal age, birth week of the baby, gender, delivery type, maternal age, maternal education level, maternal employment status, mothers smoking status, and EB in the first 6 months. The mean duration of breastfeeding in mothers who stopped breastfeeding (n=145) was 13.67±8.73 months. The median time to start CF was 6 months. The first complementary foods given to the children were 37.1% yogurt, 19.6% vegetable puree, 13.5% fruit, and 13.1% vegetable soup. Early initiation of CF decreased as maternal age increased and education level decreased (p<0.05). Smoking mothers started CF earlier.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Although breastfeeding is common in Turkey, EB is not at the desired level. For healthy child development, parents must be educated about breast milk, breatfeeding, when to start CF, and about food ingredients. In this regard, health professionals and social media have important duties as they are the sources of information to families.