Assessment of the Actual Practices Regarding Breastfeeding and Weaning Among Mothers in Al Madinah Al Munawarah

Author(s): Manal Salah El Gendy

The period up to two years of life known as a critical window to ensure optimal growth of an infant's life. The Quran states “And mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years, for those who desire to complete the appropriate duration of breastfeeding”. According to WHO, when breast milk is inadequate complementary foods should be starting from 6 months of age. The primary objective of this study was to gather more recent data regarding the awareness of breastfeeding and proper weaning practice among mothers in Al-Medina Al-Munawara. A total of 175 mothers of a healthy infant aged less than 5 years old were included in the present investigation. Data were collected using a questionnaire include open and close-ended questions. Only (17.1%) know the appropriate age of weaning according to WHO definition. About (23%) of mothers-initiated breastfeeding (BF) within the first hour after delivery. Regarding the duration of BF, (29.1%) of mothers continued BF for one-two years. Approximately half of the mothers (47.4%) reported introduced complementary feeding before 6 months. While (91.5%) of mothers start to taste their infants before giving foods and (89.2%) give water before 6 months of age. About (85%) have reported giving herbs before 3 months of age. In conclusion, this study revealed that the actual practice of breastfeeding and weaning in the sample under investigation is far away from WHO recommendations. Mothers need further understanding of nutrition concepts of BF and weaning which then would promote their practices.

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