EFFECT OF ANTENATAL COUNSELLING ON EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING

Muhammad Owais Ahmad, Ume Sughra, Umay Kalsoom, Muhammad Imran, Usman Hadi

Abstract


Background: The promotion and support of breastfeeding is a global priority. However, in reality
most of the mothers are unable to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Most mothers discontinue
breastfeeding because of lack of confidence in their ability to breastfeed, problem with infant
suckling, breast pain, perception of insufficient milk, in addition to other unspecified difficulties.
Some these problems can be solved if the women are counselled antenataly about the benefits of
breastfeeding and prepared mentally for exclusive breastfeeding. The aim of the study was to
determine whether the mothers with antenatal counselling on breastfeeding would improve their
exclusive breast feeding and compare this with that of the mothers without antenatal counselling. It
was a cross-sectional comparative study which took place at the Maternity ward of Fauji Foundation
Hospital, Rawalpindi. Methods: Hundred mothers selected by consecutive non probability sampling
divided in two groups. Group A: 50 mothers who were counselled on breastfeeding and Group B: 50
mothers who were not counselled on breastfeeding. Fifty mothers practicing breast feeding after
antenatal counselling in the maternity ward of Fauji Foundation Hospital, Rawalpindi were recruited
in the study. Another fifty mothers practicing breastfeeding without antenatal counselling were asked
to take part in the study as a control group. Performa was completed and an informed consent was
obtained. Results: As compared to the not counselled group, the mothers who initiated breastfeeding
immediately after birth were statistically significantly higher (p<0.046) in the counselled group (84%
and 96% respectively). Similarly the number of counselled mothers who practiced exclusive
breastfeeding was statistically very highly significantly more (p<0.001) than the not counselled
group (68% and 16% respectively). Conclusion: Antenatal counselling helps in motivating the
mothers for initiation of breastfeeding immediately after birth and practicing exclusive breastfeeding
for first six months of infant’s life. Existing antenatal counselling on breastfeeding is inadequate in
the population studied and needs to be strengthened.
Keywords: Breastfeeding, Antenatal counselling, Exclusive breastfeeding

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