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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 2803-2809

Exclusive breastfeeding among Saudi mothers: Exposing the substantial gap between knowledge and practice

Department of Family Medicine, Alhada Armed Forces Hospital, Taif City, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nada Ahmed Alsulaimani
Department of Family Medicine, Alhada Armed Forces Hospital, Taif City
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_533_19

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Background: Rates of exclusive breastfeeding are exceedingly low in the Arabic world. This study aims to estimate the local prevalence of, and knowledge about, exclusive breastfeeding in Saudi Arabia. Method: This is a cross-sectional survey of mothers of infants aged 6–12 months who attended Taif-based “well-baby clinic.” A structured questionnaire was developed to explore predictors of, and participants' knowledge about, exclusive breastfeeding. Results: Participants in the study were 202 mothers. The rate for initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour after childbirth was 13.9%. The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 16.3%. Knowledge level was great among participating mothers as 65.3% of mothers scored over 75% of the total knowledge score and 95% got more than half of the questions right. Only having 3–6 children (P = 0.023) and 1-year interpregnancy interval (P = 0.005) were associated with the positive likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding. Baby age (P = 0.0218), birth in a private facility (P = 0.00843), and university education (P = 0.0131) were associated with better knowledge. Discussion and Conclusion: Rates of exclusive breastfeeding practice are low in Saudi Arabia despite adequate knowledge about its benefits and necessity.

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