Breastfeeding patterns and birth interval analysis in Kenya
This study based on the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, attempts to find the effect of breastfeeding on birth intervals. The unit of analysis for this study was the last closed birth intervals and the main methods employed were cross-tabulation and linear regression. \ The study reveals that breastfeeding status of mothers played a considerable role in the determination of fertility. The numbers of live births were lower for mothers who practiced full breastfeeding compared to others. Increase in the duration of breastfeeding is associated with decline in the mean number of live births. Significant differences in the breastfeeding durations observed by place of residence, level of education and age of mothers. Birth interval analysis confirm that the longer the duration of breastfeeding the longer the birth interval and hence the lower the fertility. The multiple regression results established that age of mother, ethnicity, contraceptive use, education and the duration of breastfeeding are significant determinants the last closed birth interval. The major conclusion derived from the study results was that breastfeeding duration is a significant proximate factor influencing birth intervals. The study recommends promotion of breastfeeding and family planning programs. Further research should be undertaken to determine the trends of breastfeeding and reasons for continuing or discontinuing breastfeeding. Regular evaluation of programs and policies to promote breastfeeding should also be put in place.
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