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Open Access Research

Breastfeeding knowledge, attitude and practice among school teachers in Abha female educational district, southwestern Saudi Arabia

Ali Mohamed Al-Binali

Author Affiliations

Department of Child Health, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, P.O. Box 641, 61421, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

International Breastfeeding Journal 2012, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1746-4358-7-10

Published: 15 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Inadequate knowledge, or inappropriate practice, of breastfeeding may lead to undesirable consequences. The aim of this study was to assess breastfeeding knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) among female teachers in the Abha Female Educational District and identify factors that may affect breastfeeding practice in the study population.

Methods

A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted among school teachers in Abha Female Educational District during the months of April to June, 2011. Breastfeeding KAP of participants who had at least one child aged five years or younger at the time of the study were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire, based on their experience with the last child.

Results

A total of 384 women made up of 246 (61.1%) primary-, 89 (23.2%) intermediate- and 49 (12.8%) high-school teachers participated in the study. One hundred and nineteen participants (31%) started breastfeeding their children within one hour of delivery, while exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months was reported only by 32 (8.3%) participants. Insufficient breast milk and work related problems were the main reasons given by 169 (44%) and 148 (38.5%) of participants, respectively, for stopping breastfeeding before two years. Only 33 participants (8.6%) had attended classes related to breastfeeding. However, 261 participants (68%) indicated the willingness to attend such classes, if available, in future pregnancies.

Conclusions

This study revealed that breast milk insufficiency and adverse work related issues were the main reasons for a very low rate of exclusive breastfeeding among female school teachers in Abha female educational district, Saudi Arabia. A very low rate of attending classes addressing the breastfeeding issues during pregnancy, and an alarming finding of a high percentage of babies receiving readymade liquid formula while still in hospital, were also brought out by the present study. Such findings, if addressed comprehensively by health care providers and decision-makers, will lead to the improvement of breastfeeding practices in the study community.

Keywords:
Breastfeeding; Knowledge; Practice; Attitude; School teachers