Breast Feeding Practices and Knowledge In Semi urban Area Of Pakistan
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the optimal breastfeeding practices and its
knowledge in women of semi- urban areas of Pakistan.
Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out at the Pediatrics outpatient department. The data was collected in three months, from the 9th of March to the 6th of June 2021. Two hundred (200) mothers of children less than two years of age were included in the study. A pre-structured questionnaire was used to interview mothers and readings were recorded. Demographic variables and mothers’ knowledge and practices of breast feeding were evaluated. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 23.
Results: The majority of mothers belonged to the age group 20-30 years, were educated to various
grades of schooling, underwent caesarean section, had children less than 1 year of age, and came from families earning less than Pakistan Rupees 20,000 per month. The majority also thought to initiate breastfeeding after one hour of birth, were aware of it to be the first thing offered to neonates after birth, and knew beneficial effects of breastfeeding on maternal health. Though the majority of the mothers practiced prelacteal feed and didn’t exclusively breastfeed their child but practiced awakening their child for feeding if interval exceeded two hours. Most common prelacteal feed was honey, and bottle feeding was the most preferred mode of feeding the infant. Exclusive breastfeeding was found to be significantly associated with the mode of delivery (p=0.044). No statistically significant association was found between exclusive breastfeeding with early initiation of feeding, maternal age, and maternal education.
Conclusion: The present study reveals that despite awareness, ‘optimal breastfeeding’ is not prac-
ticed adequately in semi-urban areas of Pakistan. Mothers should be timely and properly counseled by healthcare professionals for breastfeeding to reduce morbidity and mortality in fants.