Awareness and Attitude towards Breastfeeding among Two Generations of Indian Women

A Comparative Study

Citation: Pandey D, Sardana P, Saxena A, Dogra L, Coondoo A, Kamath A (2015) Awareness and Attitude towards Breastfeeding among Two Generations of Indian Women: A Comparative Study. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126575. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126575
Published: May 19, 2015

Abstract
Introduction: Present study was aimed to analyze the impact of education, employment and financial independence in breastfeeding practices among Indian women.
Methodology:Present explorative questionnaire based survey included 256 women (128 pairs) in the final analysis. A pair means – a) pregnant lady (in her third trimester) representing younger generation and b) her mother/mother in law representing the elder generation.
Results: We found that the overall awareness regarding ‘breast milk’ being the best food for baby was excellent (overall 97.3%; younger generation: 96.9%; elder generation: 97.7%). Overall knowledge regarding the correct technique (28.9% younger generation and 21.9% elder generation) and frequency of breastfeeding (20.3% of younger generation and 34.4% of elder generation) was very poor. Less than 60% (younger generation: 57.8%; elder generation: 58.6%) were aware that the only major contraindication for breastfeeding is a mother infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). On comparing responses obtained from the two generations of women, difference was not statistically significant among most of the issues related to breastfeeding. With regards to the attitude, despite better awareness, only 94.5% women in younger generation and 89.1% women in elder generation were planning to give mother’s milk as the first feed to the newborn. Similarly, less than 75% of women were ready to breast-feed the newborn immediately after birth. This was contradictory to the fact that 86% of pregnant women were aware that the baby should be breast-fed within an hour of birth.
Conclusion: Awareness with regards to breastfeeding issues had not changed significantly with the educational progress of Indian women. Despite the good level of awareness in the society regarding breastfeeding, attitude to practice the same is lacking.

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