Mohammad Jyoti Raihan, Md Ahshanul Haque, Fahmida Dil Farzana, Mohammad Ali, Tahmeed Ahmed
Objective: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is critical for child growth and development. Because of its significant effect on morbidity and mortality, much has been done to ensure EBF in low and middle-income countries like Bangladesh. EBF is established when breastmilk alone is exclusively fed from birth until six months of age. However, feeding during the first three days after birth is often ignored for various reasons. We aimed to assess the role of feeding during the first three days in respect of early cessation of EBF. Method: Data of 1,040 children aged under six months was derived from the baseline survey of Suchana, a large scale nutrition program, conducted in Sylhet, Bangladesh and subsequently analyzed. Guidelines established by WHO was used to define EBF and feeding during the first three days. In univariate analysis, proportions were estimated with a 95% confidence interval and simple logistic regression models were used to establish the bivariate relationships. The strength of the association between feeding during the first three days and early cessation of EBF was established using multiple logistic regression after adjusting for other covariates. Result: Among all children, around 62% were exclusively breastfed and 13% of children were fed something other than breastmilk within the first three days of birth. Feeding during the first three days was independently and significantly associated with early cessation of breastfeeding [aOR: 1.90; 95% CI: 1.29, 2.80 (p=0.002)]. Less than four antenatal care (ANC) visits, increased child’s age and increased household size were also independently associated with early cessation of EBF. Conclusion: Feeding during the first three days of birth is a significant predictor of early cessation of EBF. Simple counseling activities to discourage feeding anything within the first few days of birth may increase the prevalence of EBF in rural Bangladesh without investing additional resources.