EFFECT OF ANTENATAL COUNSELLING ON EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING
AbstractBackground: The promotion and support of breastfeeding is a global priority. However, in realitymost of the mothers are unable to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Most mothers discontinuebreastfeeding because of lack of confidence in their ability to breastfeed, problem with infantsuckling, 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 ofbreastfeeding and prepared mentally for exclusive breastfeeding. The aim of the study was todetermine whether the mothers with antenatal counselling on breastfeeding would improve theirexclusive breast feeding and compare this with that of the mothers without antenatal counselling. Itwas a cross-sectional comparative study which took place at the Maternity ward of Fauji FoundationHospital, Rawalpindi. Methods: Hundred mothers selected by consecutive non probability samplingdivided in two groups. Group A: 50 mothers who were counselled on breastfeeding and Group B: 50mothers who were not counselled on breastfeeding. Fifty mothers practicing breast feeding afterantenatal counselling in the maternity ward of Fauji Foundation Hospital, Rawalpindi were recruitedin the study. Another fifty mothers practicing breastfeeding without antenatal counselling were askedto take part in the study as a control group. Performa was completed and an informed consent wasobtained. Results: As compared to the not counselled group, the mothers who initiated breastfeedingimmediately 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 exclusivebreastfeeding was statistically very highly significantly more (p<0.001) than the not counselledgroup (68% and 16% respectively). Conclusion: Antenatal counselling helps in motivating themothers for initiation of breastfeeding immediately after birth and practicing exclusive breastfeedingfor first six months of infant’s life. Existing antenatal counselling on breastfeeding is inadequate inthe population studied and needs to be strengthened.Keywords: Breastfeeding, Antenatal counselling, Exclusive breastfeeding
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