Infant feeding practices and fertility in Tanzania: a case study of Dodoma urban district

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study is about Infant - feeding practices and fertility in Tanzania, a case study of Dodoma urban district. It specifically evaluates the importance of breastfeeding on determining lactational amenorrheic period for the married employed urban women, who are said to breastfeed for shorter periods. The duration, frequency and intensity of breastfeeding together with the timing of introducing supplementary foods are supposed to result into long lactational amenorrheic period. The combined effect of lactation amenorrheic period and abstinence will result into long-birth intervals and hence lower fertility. Factors for breastfeeding and abstinence decline have also been examined. The basic information and data were sought from the survey conducted in Dodoma urban district from mid-June to September 1987. Using descriptive statistics, infant-feeding practices were evaluated and analysis of variance was later employed in testing the significance of variables Main findings: (i) Infant-feeding practices and Lactational Amenorrhea: The study found that breastfeeding in Dodoma urban was both nearly universal and prolonged with a median of 18 months. However, supplementary foods were introduced early at a median age of 3 months as mothers approached the end of 3 month maternity leave. The majority of women had lactational amenorrheic period of less than 7 months with a median period of 6 months. Breastfeeding and maternal age were statistically significant in the determination of lactational amenorrheic period as they had a positive relationship. Introduction of supplementary foods and frequency of breastfeeding per day had no significant relationship. The majority of mothers abstained less than 7 months with average abstinence period of 6 months. The combined effect of lactational amenorrheic period and abstinence determined 20 per cent of the observed birth-interval of 2.5 years. (ii) Breastfeeding and Abstinence decline: Reduced breastfeeding was characteristic of higher employment status and better educated mothers. On the other hand, urbanization has contributed much to the decline of abstinence practices.
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Fertility, Human, Dodoma (District), Population, Children, Nutrition, Psychological aspects, Tanzania
Rwezaula, S. (1988) Infant feeding practices and fertility in Tanzania: a case study of Dodoma urban district, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (