Compliance of mothers' breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices with WHO recommendations in Turkey

  • Demir, Gulperi (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Selcuk University) ;
  • Yardimci, Hulya (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ankara University) ;
  • Ozcelik, Ayse Ozfer (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ankara University) ;
  • Cakiroglu, Funda Pinar (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ankara University)
  • Received : 2019.09.24
  • Accepted : 2020.05.30
  • Published : 2020.12.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate how breastfeeding and complementary nutrition practices of mothers of 0-24-month-old children comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for infant and young child feeding and to compare the results with selected demographic parameters related to the mother and child. SUBJECTS/METHODS: The research sample comprised mothers (n = 250) with children less than 2 years old. Data were obtained via questionnaire and were analyzed using SPSS 20.0 package program. The Pearson χ2 or Fisher's exact tests were used for assessing relationships between categorical variables. The one-sample t-test was used for comparisons with reference values. RESULTS: Most mothers (97.2%) breastfed their babies immediately after birth. The mean time to breastfeeding after delivery was 47.8 ± 14.8 minutes, and 40.8% of the mothers complied with the WHO recommendation. Furthermore, 59.8% of the mothers exclusively breastfed their children for 6 months (mean 5.2 ± 1.5 months). The mean duration to the start of providing complementary food was 5.8 ± 0.6 months, and 76.1% of mothers who complied with the WHO recommendation. Only 12.3% of mothers breastfed their children for at least 12 months (mean 7.7 ± 3.3 months). On average, mothers gave cow milk to their children for the first time at 10.1 ± 1.7 months and honey at 11.8 ± 2.3 months. The mothers' rates of compliance with the WHO recommendations on cow milk and honey feeding were 32.0% and 71.6%, respectively. The rate of mothers who complied with the WHO minimum meal frequency recommendation was 88.3%. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the WHO recommendations on this subject will be realized more fully by emphasizing the importance of the positive effects of breastfeeding until the age of 2 years and of a timely start of complementary food provision. Such changes will affect child health over the long term.


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