Breastfeeding practices of Cameroonian mothers determined by dietary recall since birth and the dose‐to‐the‐mother deuterium‐oxide turnover technique
Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of infant's life is a public health recommendation and important factor for the promotion of optimal growth, health and behavioural development of each child. The accuracy of the mothers' self‐reported past infant‐feeding events was examined and compared with the isotopic dilution technique. Breastfeeding practices were assessed in a sample of 44 Cameroonian mother–infant pairs using dietary recall since birth. Intakes of breast milk and non‐breast milk water were measured in the same sample using the dose‐to‐the‐mother deuterium‐oxide turnover technique and compared with questionnaire. Results showed that mothers' self‐reported behaviour overestimates the exclusive breastfeeding rate. Seventy‐five per cent of the mothers who claimed to be exclusively breastfeeding were found to be predominantly or partially breastfeeding by the dose‐to‐the‐mother deuterium‐oxide turnover technique. Only 11% of the infants were exclusively breastfed, and the breast milk output was not significantly affected (P ≤ 0.05) by the mother's body composition. Mean intakes of breast milk and non‐breast milk water were 701 mL day−1 and 268 mL day−1, respectively. Introduction of non‐breast milk foods is associated with a reduction in the level of breast milk intake, but the difference in breast milk intake was not significant between exclusively and predominantly breastfed infants. In conclusion, the dose‐to‐the‐mother deuterium‐oxide turnover technique can be applied to validate the mother's reports of infant‐feeding practices, but non‐breast milk water intake by breastfeeding category still needs to be normalized.
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