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TITLE:

BREASTFEEDING PRACTICE AND MOTHERS AWARENESS AND PRACTICE OF ABSOLUTE BREASTFEEDING IN ARAR, SAUDI ARABIA

AUTHORS:

Nagah Mohamed Abo El-Fetoh, Seema Bibi Qureshi, Omar Gharbi Alenezi, Abdulrahman Fahis Alanazi, Waleed Ahmed Alanazi, Meshal Odhayb AlAnazi, Omar Mohamed Bakr Ali

ABSTRACT:

Background: Human milk meets all the nutritional requirements of infants for the first 6 months of life, and it is associated with a lower incidence of diarrhea than partial or artificial feeding. The infant should be exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months of life and if possible for 6 months, as recommended by WHO and UNICEF. Objectives: The main objective of this study was to determine the breastfeeding status for children under 24 months in Arar city, and to determine breastfeeding practice in relation to some socidemographic and nutrition related variables. Participants and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in Arar city, mothers were selected from the attendees of the female side of 6 randomly selected primary health care centers in the city. They interviewed and filled a questionnaire which included the needed questions. Results: Among the 400 studied children,17.2% got breastfeeding, 41.0% had both breast and artificial feeding while 41.8% depended on artificial feeding only. Absolute breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life was found in 34.7% of infants and in the first 4 months of life was found in 13.8%. Sources of health education of the mothers about absolute breastfeeding period were doctors in 12.1%, health education team of the hospitals in 24.1%, relatives and friends in 11.8%, the media in 3.8% while no health education about absolute breastfeeding period was reported by 48.2% of the studied mothers. The reported causes of artificial feeding was difficulty of breastfeeding during working hours in 41.8%, missing of support in 25.7%, preference of formula milk in 11%, thinking that breastfeeding leads to breast enlargement and redundancy in 8.6% and thinking that breastfeeding leads to obesity of the mothers in 4.5%. No significant relationship between type of child feeding and child age, sex, mother education, mother's working status, father's work or mother age group [P >0.05]. Conclusion: 17.2% got breastfeeding, 41.0% had both breast and artificial feeding while 41.8% depended on artificial feeding only. Absolute breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life was found in 34.7% of infants and in the first 4 months of life was found in 13.8%. With deficiency of exclusive breastfeeding among infants of Arar, Saudi Arabia. Programs promoting exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of age must be conducted to increase mothers’ awareness of the exclusive breastfeeding duration is recommended. Keywords: Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Breastfeeding Practice; Arar, Saudi Arabia.

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