Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers

Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers

Knowledge, attitudes, and breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers: A cross sectional survey Poreddi Vijayalakshmi, (1) Susheela T, (2) Mythili D (3) RN, RM, BSN, MSN, Clinical instructor, College of Nursing, (1, 2, 3) National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, (Institute of National Importance), Bangalore. Abstract Background: Breast feeding has several benefits for both the infants and mothers. However, despite strong evidences in support of breast feeding its prevalence has remained low worldwide. The objective of the present study was to examine the knowledge and attitude towards breast feeding and infant feeding practices among Indian postnatal mothers. Methodology: A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out among randomly selected postnatal mothers at Pediatric outpatient department at a tertiary care center. Data was collected through face-to-face interview using a structured questionnaire. Results: Our findings revealed that a majority (88.5%) of the mothers were breast feeders. However, merely 27% of the mothers were exclusive breast feeders and only 36.9% initiated breast feeding within an hour. While mothers have good knowledge on breast feeding (12.05±1.74, M±SD), the average score of the Iowa Infant Feeding Scale (IIFAS) (58.77±4.74, M ±SD) indicate neutral attitudes toward breast feeding. Mothers those who were currently breast feeding (58.83 ± 4.74) had more positive attitudes than non- breastfeed mothers (45.21±5.22). Conclusion: Our findings also show that the level of exclusive breast-feeding was low. Thus, it is important to provide prenatal education to mothers and fathers on breast-feeding. We also recommend strengthening the public health education campaigns to promote breast-feeding. Keywords: Attitudes, Breast feeding, India, Infant feeding practices, Knowledge, Mothers Corresponding author: Poreddi Vijayalakshmi Clinical Instructor, College of Nursing, Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Institute of National Importance, Bangalore, 560 029, India. Email: Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers

Knowledge, attitudes, and breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers…

Introduction Breastfeeding is a basic human activity, vital to infant and maternal health and of immense economic value to households and societies. (1) The WHO recommends that for the first six months of life, infants should be exclusively breastfed to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Thereafter, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more. (2) Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) is defined as infant feeding with human milk without the addition of any other liquids or solids. (3) The benefits of breast-feeding, to both mother and baby, have long been recognized. (4) Despite strong evidences in support of EBF for the first six months of life, its prevalence has remained low worldwide (5-7) and it is estimated that only about one-third of infants were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. (3) In India, breastfeeding appears to be influenced by social, cultural, and economic factors. In 1991, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) was born to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. (8) Further, the Government of India has undertaken National Rural Health Mission, which intends to implement Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses (IMNCI) through the existing healthcare delivery system. (9) Poor practices and attitudes toward exclusive breastfeeding have been reported to be among the major reasons for poor health outcomes among children, particularly in developing countries. Nonetheless, the promotion and acceptance of practices, such as exclusive breastfeeding, are especially important in developing countries with high levels of poverty, and that are characterized by a high burden of disease and low access to clean water and adequate sanitation. (10) Breastfeeding has declined worldwide in recent years, as a result of urbanization and maternal employment outside the home. Studies in India have also shown a decline in breastfeeding trends, especially in urban areas. (11) Early initiation of breastfeeding is not seen in over 75% of the nation’s children and over 50% of children are not exclusively breastfed. (12) Hence, the low figures for early initiation of breastfeeding in India are a matter Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers

of urgent concern. Although, the practice of breast feeding is influenced by various social, cultural and religious beliefs, maternal infant feeding attitude has been shown to be a stronger independent predictor of breastfeeding initiation. (13) In addition, maternal positive attitudes toward breastfeeding are associated with continuing to be breastfeeding longer and have a greater chance of success. (14) On contrary, negative attitudes of women toward breastfeeding is considered to be a major barrier to initiate and continue to breastfeeding. (15) While, a number of studies have assessed knowledge, attitude and practice of breastfeeding in different parts of the world; such studies are limited among Indian mothers. (16-18) However, there were no reported studies of breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes of mothers using the IIFAS (Iowa Infant Feeding Attitudes Scale) from India, which may be different from other cultures. Further, maternal attitude is also a concept of interest to health professionals who support breastfeeding. Thus the present study was developed to examine the infant feeding practices, knowledge and attitude towards breast feeding among Indian postnatal mothers’ using the IIFAS. Materials and methods This was a cross sectional study carried out among post natal mothers who attended immunization clinics and the Pediatric Out Patient Department with their children for vaccination and for the treatment of other minor illnesses at a tertiary care hospital in the month of January 2014. Study participants were selected through a random sampling method of the database of children attending the Pediatric outpatient department. Those who met the inclusion criteria were interviewed. The study criteria were; a) mothers of healthy infants aged 6 months, b) born between 37 and 42 gestation weeks, c) and without major birth defects such as congenital heart disease, cleft lip/cleft palate and Down syndrome and d) who volunteered to participate. Mothers of preterm babies, and multiple gestations were excluded. One hundred and thirty eight mothers were enrolled in to the present study. However, the final sample comprised of 122 mothers because of few of the participants (n=12) refused to participate due to lack of interest Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers


Poreddi Vijayalakshmi et al…

and lack of time and we could not complete the interviews since mothers could not manage the infants (n=4). Data collection Instruments Demographic data survey instrument The demographic form elicited information on participants’ background: age, marital status, religion, place of residence, employment, education, family’s monthly income, type of delivery, number of deliveries, current breast feeding practices, exclusive breast feeding and initiation of breast feeding within an hour. Questionnaires Data Collection A structured questionnaire has been used to assess knowledge and attitudes towards breastfeeding among postnatal mothers. This questionnaire has two sections; Section A: This part of questionnaire was developed by the researchers based on the review of literature and past experiences. There were 15 items (3 negatively worded items) to measure knowledge of the participants towards breastfeeding. Each item in the knowledge section of the questionnaire had 3 possible responses, namely True, False, and not sure. One mark was awarded for every correct response, zero otherwise. Hence, the total number of marks in the knowledge section ranged from 0 to 15. This part of questionnaire was validated by twelve nursing and obstetrics experts. Section B: The Iowa Infant Feeding Attitudes Scale (IIFAS) was used to assess mothers’ attitudes toward breastfeeding. (19) The scale included 17 attitude items to determine level of agreement to each question. A 5-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree was applied to all questions. Approximately half of the questions were negatively worded (i.e. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, and 17). Total IIFAS score ranged from 17 to 85 with higher scores reflecting more positive attitudes on breastfeeding. Total scores were grouped into three groups (1) positive to breastfeeding (70- 85), (2) neutral (49-69), and positive to formula feeding (17-48). The Iowa Infant Feeding Attitudes Scale (IIFAS) is a valid and reliable

measure (Cronbach’s alpha scores ranges from (.85-.86) that evaluates breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes in cross-cultural settings. (20-22) Data collection procedure After obtaining the permission from hospital authorities, all mothers were given an explanation of purpose of the study. Written informed consent was obtained from the mothers who were willing to participate in the study. Data were collected by the researchers through face-to-face interview, in a private room at the treatment facilities where the participants were recruited. It took approximately 25 minutes to complete the structured questionnaire. Though, it was not part of the study, researchers educated the mothers about the importance of continuing breast feeding up to 2 years. Ethical consideration Written consent was obtained from the participants and they were given freedom to quit the study. Participants’ confidentiality was respected. Statistical analysis Responses of the negatively worded items were reversed before data analysis. The data were analyzed using statistical software and results were presented in narratives and tables. The relationship between IIFAS scores and socio-demographic variables was tested by using correlation, t-tests, or a one-way analysis of variance. The significance level for all statistical analysis was set at 0.05. Results Sample description The sample of the present study comprised of postpartum mothers (N=122) of whom 71.3% (n=87) belonged to 20-25ys age group. The mean age of the participants was 23.07±3.50 (M±SD) and average income was Rs/- 2.655±1.48 (M±SD). The majorities (66.4%) of them were Hindus and were from rural background (64.8%). More than three fourth of the participants were homemakers (77.8%) and had normal delivery. Nearly half of the participants were illiterate and primary educated (49.2%). Although most of the mothers (88.5%) were breastfeeding their infants, merely 27% of the mothers were Breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers

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