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The Pattern of Breast-feeding, Riyadh, 2000.




This study describes the types and duration of infant feeding and the factors associated with that practice among mothers attending well-baby clinics. Among 922 studied mothers the last child was reported to be (95.1%) ever breast-fed. Breast-feeding was exclusive in 66.1%, predominant in 53.8% and mixed in 76.4%. The rate of bottle-feeding was 44.5%. The exclusive breast-feeding rate was 62.9% at one week, 29.6% at 3 months and 3.8% at 6 months. The mixed feeding and bottle feeding rates increased from 8.5% and 4.9% at one week, to 48.6% and 34.2% at 3 months, and 92.6% and 76.8% above 6 months respectively. Among the studied mothers, 96.7 % had ever breast-fed any of their children, 100% maintained breast-feeding for one week, 94.5% for 3 months, 82.9% for 6 months, 64.6% for 12 months, 27.9% for 2 years and 3.9% beyond 2 years. The most frequent reason to continue breast-feeding was religious (55.1%) and to stop was inadequate milk (60.8%). The association between exclusive breast-feeding for 4-6 months and mothers' residence, marital status, number of alive children, education level and occupation were statistically significant (p-<0.05). The duration of breast-feeding was significantly associated with all maternal variables except for marital status. The exclusive breast-feeding rate was lower than that recommended by the World Health Organization. However, some mothers continued to breast-feed their children for even beyond 2 years. It is recommended to study the Saudi traditional infant-feeding habits, to modify exclusive breast-feeding to almost exclusive, to promote breast-feeding education to both health professionals and mothers, and to conduct further studies of breast-feeding practice, duration and reasons. Conclusion: