Postpartum evaluation of the mothers’ knowledge about breastfeeding and the importance of breast milk
Aim: The aim of this study is to evaluate the sociodemographic factors about breast milk and breastfeeding descriptively. We want the emphasize the importance of breastmilk by evaluating the reasons behind short duration of nursing and the knowledge levels of the mothers about breast milk and breastfeeding.
Material and Methods: The sampling consisted of 201 voluntary postpartum mothers aged 17-43 whom are followed by 2 separate family physician specialist MDs at two different Family Medicine centers in İstanbul during March 2017- July 2017. The data were obtained face to face by one researcher using a questionnaire of 20 questions. Postpartum mothers who have not yet started nursing and are not in between 17-43 years of age were excluded from the study. NCSS (Number Cruncher Statistical System) 2007 (Kaysville, Utah, USA) programe was used to analyse the statistics. Value of p<0,05 was accepted as statistically significant.
Results: The mothers ages were between 17 and 43 and the mean age of the mothers was 27,46±6,61. Of the babies 44.8% were breastfed immediately after birth while 31.2% were breastfed within the first hour, 4.5% in two hours, 4% in 3-5 hours, 6% a day later, and 9.5% in at least two days later. Of the mothers 56.7% had training about breastfeeding while 92% of the mothers claimed that they know the importance of breast milk. Although they already started breastfeeding, 3.5% of the mothers did not plan to continue breastfeeding, 3% planned to breastfeed for 0-6 months, 8.5% of them 6-12 months, 73.6% of the mothers planned to breastfeed for 12-24 months and 11.4% of them planned to breastfeed more than 24 months. Of the mothers 14.9% started formula or complementary food due to not having enough milk, while 42.8% of them worried about their babies not gaining enough weight, 13.9% of them said their baby refused breastfeeding, 4% had health issues preventing them to breastfeed and 2% had other reasons for starting formula or early complementary food. Only 22.4% of the mothers had no issues and exclusively breastfed their babies. There was no statistically significant difference between the mothers’age and their knowledge level about breastfeeding (p=0,291) Also there was again no statistically significant difference about the mothers education status and their knowledge level about breastfeeding and breast milk (p=0,648) There was a statistically significant difference between mothers’ occupational status and breastfeeding knowledge levels; working mothers had higher levels of knowlegde than the housewives (p=0,001).
Conclusion: The results of this study indicates that the mothers need more education about breast milk ingredients, the importance and the efficiency of breast milk, exclusively breastfeeding and when to start complementary food. Mothers should be educated at their family medicine centers about breast milk and breastfeeding everytime they visit during their pregnancy. The importance of starting breastfeeding within the first hour after birth; colostrum and exclusive breastfeeding in first 6 months excluding water or any other complamentary foods should be emphasised and mothers should gain confidence about nursing.
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