Sociodemographic factors associated with uptake of exclusive breastfeeding practice in Brunei Darussalam.

MM Alhaji 1, R Sharbawi 2, A Majeed 3, NAA Tuah 1,3

1 Pengiran Anak Puteri Ra’asidah Saadatul Bolkiah (PAPRSB) Institute of Health Sciences (IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam, 2 Maternal and Child Health Services, Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam, 3 Primary Care & Public Health Department, Imperial College London, United Kingdom



Introduction: Exclusive breastfeeding is the practice of exclusively breastfeeding the newborn from the early hours of life to six months. This practice is encouraged to improve health of baby and also bonding. However, how widely practiced is exclusive breastfeeding in our local setting is unknown. This study aimed to establish the prevalence and socio-demographic factors affecting the uptake of exclusive breastfeeding practice among working and non-working (full-time housewives) mothers in Brunei Darussalam. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective review of secondary longitudinal data from 5,484 child health records, aged from one to six months, obtained from 22 Maternal and Child Health clinics in Brunei Darussalam in 2010. The study population represents 85.5% of the total live births in Brunei Darussalam for the year 2010. Results: Exclusive breastfeeding steadily declined from 71% at the first month after birth to 29% by six months. Exclusive breastfeeding practice at six months was higher in non-working mothers (36.7%) compared to working mothers (17.9% private, and 24.9% government workers) (p<0.001). Parity, maternal race, and maternal employment status were significantly associated with exclusive breastfeeding practice; but no relationship was found between exclusive breastfeeding practice and geographical area of residence of the mother, or sex of the child. Multivariate analyses showed working mothers (private sector, adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR=0.40, p<0.001; and government sector, AOR=0.55, p<0.001) were less likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months than non-working mothers. Primiparous mothers were also less likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months (AOR=0.74, p<0.001) compared to multiparous mothers. Conclusion: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding progressively declines from first month to only 29% at six months in Brunei Darussalam in 2010. Non-working mothers were more likely to continue exclusive breastfeeding at six months. These findings have important implications for future studies, policies and programmes on maternal and child health in the country.


Keywords: Breastfeeding, Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition, Early Life


Correspondence author: Mohammed M. Alhaji, PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, BE1410, Brunei Darussalam.

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 Brunei Int Med J. 2017; 13 (1): 12-19