Breastfeeding practices of Cameroonian mothers determined by dietary recall since birth and the dose-to-the-mother deuterium-oxide turnover technique.Matern Child Nutr 2012; 8(3):330-9MC
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.