Breastfeeding Support Offered at Delivery is Associated with Higher Prevalence of Exclusive Breastfeeding at 6 Weeks Postpartum Among HIV Exposed Infants: A Cross-Sectional Analysis


Objective HIV-exposed uninfected infants are almost twice as likely to die compared to infants born to HIV-uninfected women. HIV-exposed uninfected children whose mothers are on ART and who are breastfed have the lowest risk of dying by 24 months of age. Interventions to improve breastfeeding among HIV-infected mothers are needed. We aimed to assess the association between support/counseling provided by healthcare workers following delivery and the rate of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) at 6-week postpartum. Methods This is a secondary analysis of data collected as part of a trial to evaluate the effect of conditional cash transfers on retention in and uptake of PMTCT services. Between April 2013 and August 2014, newly diagnosed HIV-infected women, ≤ 32 weeks pregnant, registering for antenatal care (ANC), in 89 clinics in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, were recruited and followed through 6 weeks postpartum. At 6-week, participants were asked if they had given anything other than breastmilk to their infant in the 24 h preceding the interview (No = EBF) and whether a nurse or a doctor talked to them about breastfeeding after they gave birth (YES = received breastfeeding support/counseling). Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) measuring the strength of the association between EBF and receiving breastfeeding support/counseling by a healthcare provider following delivery. Results Of 433 women enrolled, 328 attended a 6-week postpartum visit including 320 (97%) with complete information on EBF. Of those 320, 202 (63%) reported giving nothing other than breastmilk to their infant in the previous 24 h; 252 (79%) reported that a healthcare provider came to talk to them about breastfeeding following delivery. Mothers who reported receiveing breastfeeding support/counseling from a healthcare provider were more likely to exclusively breastfeed compared to those who did not (69% vs. 38%, OR 3.74; 95% CI 2.14–6.54). Adjustment for baseline sociodemographic characteristics did not change the association substantially, (adjusted OR 3.72; 95% CI 2.06–6.71). Conclusion for Practice Receipt of breastfeeding support/counseling from a healthcare provider after delivery among HIV-infected mothers in care at 6-weeks postpartum in Kinshasa almost quadrupled the odds of EBF.

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We are grateful to the women and infants who participated in the study. We are also grateful the personnel of the participating clinics for their time and effort. We are thankfull for the technical support of Dr. Landry Kiketa and Mrs. Martine Tabala, the data collection and data entry contributions of Josée Nlandu Babela, Valerie B. Chalachala, Fanny Matadi, Espérance Mindia, and Georges Kihuma Nganguli, and the support of the Ohio State University’s, University of North Carolina’s, and Kinshasa School of Public Health’s administrative teams.


This study was supported by a grant from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the National Institute of Health and Child Development: NIHCD 1R01 HD075171. MY and CM are partially supported by the National Institute of Health (NIAID U01AI096299). The funders had no role in study design, data collection, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of the manuscript, or decision to submit.

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Mpody, C., Reline, T., Ravelomanana, N.L.R. et al. Breastfeeding Support Offered at Delivery is Associated with Higher Prevalence of Exclusive Breastfeeding at 6 Weeks Postpartum Among HIV Exposed Infants: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. Matern Child Health J 23, 1308–1316 (2019).

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  • Breastfeeding counseling
  • 6 weeks postpartum
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Healthcare worker