Background: Early initiation of Breastfeeding (EIBF) within an hour of delivery protects the baby from illness and reduces neonatal mortality, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This notwithstanding there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that in some parts of Ghana, the practice of EIBF is affected by multiple factors which have not been well interrogated. As a result, the Western Region (WR) study assessed the correlates of early breastfeeding beginning.
Methods: The study examined data from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) child file. The data was weighted and filtered by region (Western Region) and children aged 24 or younger months using SPSS Version 20. A total of 257 children were included in the sample. Frequencies, bivariate, and binary logistic regression were used to display the results. The cutoff for statistical significance was set at 0.05.
Results: The findings of this study indicate that maternal, paternal, household and community factors did not predict EIBF. However, initiation of EIBF in WR was predicted by the child and institutional factors. Less frequently were children who were female and in higher birth orders nursed within an hour. Children of average size and those whose mothers had high access to healthcare, on the other hand, were more likely to be breastfed within an hour.
Conclusions: There is a high prevalence of early EIBF in the Western Region (78.2%). Nevertheless, Ghana health service must include in child health initiatives early EIBF policies targeting female and higher birth order children.