BREAST FEEDING PATTERNS AMONG WORKING WOMEN; A CROSS SECTIONAL SURVEY
Introduction: WHO recommends it to continue sole breast feeding for first 6 months of infant’s life and then substitute breast milk with other food, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. This is an important requirement in the development of the baby. Educated, working mothers, although have knowledge about these recommendations, may not follow them due to lack of time or energy. Methodology: This study, set in Lahore General Hospital, was aimed at determining feeding practices of working women and identifying challenges they face in said practices. This data can give us useful information on whether certain changes or awareness needs to be made for the betterment of this practice.A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in Lahore General Hospital, lasting 4 weeks. This was achieved using a questionnaire and a sample size of 119 working women which was analyzed on SPSS 22.0.
Results: The results show that the majority of mothers surveyed were well educated doctors (50%), with high earning (54% earning above Rs. 16,000 per month) and worked 8-12 hours a day (59%). Majority (92%) of them started breast feeding Right after birth. considerable number (40%) of women stopped breastfeeding before the age of 6 months and (60%) continued breast feeding along weaning. All the women supported the claim that changes should be made in working environments to support proper feeding practices, longer maternity leaves and good daycare centers.
Conclusion: The study concludes that most of the working woman are well aware about the guidelines set by WHO. Although long working hours, short maternity leaves and non-availability of hygienic day care centers are a major barrier in proper feeding and these issues can be addressed if attention is given to them.