Practicing EBF in an infant’s first six months of life is recommended by the World Health Organization because of its proven effectiveness as a method to support the infant’s short- and long-term physical and cognitive development. However, many countries, including Cambodia, face contextually driven challenges in meeting this optimum breastfeeding standard. The current declining EBF rate in Cambodia is a concerning indicator of the impact of these challenges.
We used existing data from the 2014 CDHS to analyze 717 Cambodian mother-infant pairs. CDHS 2014 used a two-stage stratified cluster sampling approach to select samples.
Our findings indicate that EBF was more likely if they resided rurally among mothers with infants under six months and if they delivered at a public hospital. On the other hand, mothers of the middle wealth index practiced EBF less than mothers of the low wealth index. And as expected, our analysis confirmed that the older the infants grew, the less likely they would be exclusively breastfed than those younger than one month old.
The study concluded that there is a need to adequately address these determinants by appropriate interventions to halt the declining trend of EBF practice. We recommend a multifaceted approach to improve EBF rates in Cambodia. Advocacy around EBF at public hospitals should continue, and private hospital staff should receive training to provide EBF counseling and support to mothers.