Dr. MANAL ZAYED ALFAHMI
Joint Program of Family Medicine – Makkah Al-Mokarramah – 2012
The World health organizationrecommends that all mothers should breastfed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months of live; nevertheless, some mothers do not know that and some mothers may be reluctant to follow this recommendation.
Objectives : To assess breastfeeding knowledge, attitude and practice of female health care working mothers in primary health care centers of Prince Ahmad sector, Makkah ALMukarramah, July 2012.
Methods: This research followed a cross-sectional design, included all healthcare working mothers (Physicians, Nurses and Technicians), who have a child aged six months to three years, working in primary health care centers of prince Ahmad sector within the city of Makkah, Makkah ALMukarramah region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the study period July, 2012. And were asked to fill in a self-administered validated questionnaire to assess their knowledge, attitude and practice of breast-feeding.
Results: This study included a total of 70 female health care working mothers of children aged between 6months to three years, More than half of mothers were 30-40 years (51.4%), with a mean SD of 31.6+4.6 years. The last child’s age of more than half of mothers was 12-24 months (52.9%), with a mean SD of 17.4+9.8 months. Only 38.6% of participant mothers breastfed their babies exclusively for at least six months. More than half of participant mothers did not continue breastfeeding their babies till the second year (55.7%). More than half of participant mothers started artificially feeding their babies without consulting a physician (52.9%), and 40% of mothers frequently changed the supplementary milk. The main reasons stated by participant mothers for starting artificial feeding were work-related obstacles (41.4%), insufficient breast milk (17.1%) and refusal of their child to be breastfed (15.7%). Mean knowledge scores were significantly higher among physicians than nurses or technicians (p=0.004) and were significantly higher among mothers who underwent a Caesarian section than those who had vaginal delivery (p=0.026). Exclusive breast-feeding was significantly less practiced by the youngest (i.e., <30 years) and the eldest mothers (i.e., >40 years) (p=0.042). Exclusive breast-feeding was significantly less practiced by technicians (p<0.001) and mothers who underwent Caesarian sections (p=0.018).
Conclusion: There are areas of lack of knowledge among female health care workers regarding exclusive breastfeeding. Only one third of health care workers in Makkah ALMukarramah, exclusively breastfeed their babies for 6 months. Most female health care workers do not continue breastfeeding their babies till the second year. The main reasons for early starting artificial feeding are work-related obstacles, insufficient breast milk and the refusal of the child to be breastfed.