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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116-123

Health professionals' perspectives on breastfeeding support practices

Fundamentals of Nursing Department, College of Nursing, University of Dammam, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Maha M Al-Madani
King Fahd Hospital of University, P. O. Box 40102, Al-Khobar 31952
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1658-631X.204875

PMID: 30787768

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Background: The decrease in rates of exclusive breastfeeding has resulted in increased rates of infant mixed feeding. The WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) has been associated with significant increases in breastfeeding initiation and duration in maternity hospitals. However, little is known about whether or not the teaching hospital of the University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia, followed the ten steps recommended in the BFHI. O bjectives: This study was carried out to assess healthcare professionals' perspectives and opinions about the breastfeeding support practices at the teaching hospital. Materials and Methods: This research is a mixed methodology cross-sectional study carried out in the King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The first phase used a self-administered questionnaire to assess professionals' awareness and opinions about actual breastfeeding practices. The first phase results led to a qualitative interview design for the second phase. Descriptive statistics were used to describe and summarize the data. The chi-square test was used to examine the difference between the observed and expected frequencies of normal data. Results: There were no breastfeeding supporting policies followed at the hospital as per those recommended by BFHI. Mothers with breastfeeding problems were not referred for help and follow-up phone calls were not made to postpartum women after discharge. Healthcare professionals indicated that there were no hospital-based breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants/specialists or lactation management unit available. Conclusions: There is a need for breastfeeding support policies, practices and staff education to facilitate care consistent with the ten steps of the BFHI. Further study is needed to assess mothers' perspectives on breastfeeding approaches at the King Fahd Hospital of the University.

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