The Association Between Breastfeeding Practices in Mongolia and Geographical Location of the Mother and Child
Dickson, Isabel L.
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<bold>Background</bold> A large body of research has shown that breastfeeding is optimal for infants and mothers. Previously high rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Mongolia have declined in recent years. Increased urban migration may be a factor in breastfeeding practices in rural compared to urban settings. <bold>Methods</bold> This cross-sectional study analyzed a subset of infants aged 6-23 months from the 3rd National Nutrition Survey in Mongolia to compare breastfeeding practices in urban and rural areas including exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months and duration of breastfeeding. <bold>Analysis</bold> Logistic regression was used to compare likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months between rural and urban subjects. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios between rural and urban subjects for likelihood of weaning. <bold>Results</bold> Of 495 infants who were aged 6-23 months at time of survey, 202 (41%) were 6-11 months, and 293 (59%) were 11-23 months of age. In this sample, 309 (62%) of the subjects were categorized as rural residence, while 186 (38%) were categorized as urban. Mothers living in rural areas were significantly more likely to exclusively breastfeed for longer than 6 months compared to mothers in rural areas (OR 1.92, 95% CI: 1.29-2.87). Urban women were more likely to wean earlier than rural women (HR 1.55, CI: .999-2.52). <bold>Conclusions</bold> The significant association between living in a rural areas and exclusively breastfeeding for more than 6 months indicates that further study is warranted to identify influences upon women's breastfeeding decisions in the city. More education and intervention is needed to prevent further declines in rates and duration of breastfeeding among urban dwelling women in Mongolia.
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