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Determinants of Exclusive Breastfeeding in Lebanon: An Online Survey

Author(s): Nadine Zablith, Siobhan Reilly

Background: Breastfeeding is the ultimate food source for infants and exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until six months postpartum. In Lebanon, the exclusive breastfeeding rates until six months postpartum are amongst the lowest worldwide, and the factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding have rarely been investigated.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the association between certain novel demographic, social and cultural factors with exclusive breastfeeding for the six months postpartum across Lebanon.

Methods: 593 mothers recruited via social media completed an online questionnaire. Data analysis consisted of bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regressions.

Results: The findings show that exclusive breastfeeding until six months postpartum is not associated with the housekeeper presence, positively associated with having a prenatal plan to breastfeed, the mother disagreeing that free formula samples should be distributed to the mothers after delivery at the hospital, having the baby’s crib kept by the mother’s bed side at the hospital, not being offered a free formula sample at the hospital, the mother’s partner perceiving breastfeeding as very important, not having the mother’s father living in the same household besides the partner and children when the child was between zero and six months and being non-Lebanese.

Conclusions: This is the first study conducted in low and middle-income countries to explore novel factors and their association with exclusive breastfeeding until six months postpartum. This study shows that ensuring appropriate systems and support for mothers, while applying the social-ecological model, should be a priority to improve maternal and child health.

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