Background: Successful lactation is determined by the early initiation of breast-feeding and continuation of lactation, which in turn is determined by positioning, an important aspect to get neonates to latch on to the breast.
Objective: To explore the knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) of postnatal mothers in the immediate postpartum period regarding the techniques of breast-feeding and to reassess their KAP following education.
Materials and Methods: This observational study was conducted in a teaching hospital in a coastal district of Karnataka, which involved 118 postnatal mothers within the first week of delivery who were breast-feeding. The study was done as per the standard KAP methodology using a preformatted structured questionnaire involving 12 questions, which were evaluated under various domains such as initiation of feeding, latching, maternal positioning, and postfeed techniques. Assessment was done with the help of a scoring system carried out before and after education, and the results were analyzed with appropriate statistical tests. When the participants answered more than minimum specified number of questions correctly for each domain, the score was considered satisfactory, and the percentage of such women were calculated both pre- and posteducation; any improvement in the performance domain-wise and total scores were noted.
Result: The KAP mean scores of participant women at the time of recruitment with different demographic variables were compared in various domains of breast-feeding techniques, and it was found that educated women having antenatal care at higher centers and who received information regarding breast-feeding techniques before delivery showed higher scores (P < 0.001). The mean scores of these domains were also compared before and after administering lactational education, and it was found that such a training session improved KAP of postnatal women in all the domains significantly (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Implementation of training programs for breast-feeding women in various techniques of breast-feeding, especially with regard to latching and maternal positioning, can improve the knowledge and attitude of postnatal mothers and aid in better practices of feeding, which in turn promotes comfortable and successful lactation.
Key words: Knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP), lactation, positioning, latching