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Knowledge, attitude and practice of Saudi women in Najran area towards breastfeeding during Ramadan

Awad Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Hatem Mohamed, Awad Mohamed Ahmed.

Breastfeeding is the gold standard for infant feeding practice. Many factors influence breastfeeding, one of them is breastfeeding during Ramadan. The objective of our study was to assess the knowledge, practice and attitude of breastfeeding among women in Najran area, Saudi Arabia, during month of Ramadan. A descriptive cross-sectional study using a self-administrated questionnaire was conducted in June and July 2015. A total of 169 breastfeeding women visiting the Gynaecology Clinic in Najran University hospital were randomly recruited. Data were analysed by using statistical package for the social sciences version 20.0. Of the study population, 89.9% showed that they used to practice breastfeeding while fasting during the day in Ramadan (p < 0.000). The study revealed that 85.8% of the participants thought that fasting does not alter the nutritional composition of breast milk (p < 0.001). Around 80.5% stated that fasting has no adverse effect on the volume of breast milk and the growth of the infants during Ramadan. Women’s knowledge about fasting and infant growth was significantly associated with their age and education (p value =0.011 and 0.031, respectively). To conclude, majority of the study population had positive knowledge, attitude and practice towards breastfeeding in Ramadan. Breastfeeding promotion programs are needed to provide support and advice to women regarding breastfeeding during Ramadan and improve their breastfeeding attitudes and knowledge which will lead to short- and longterm benefits for infants, mothers, environment, economy and the entire society.

Key words: Breastfeeding; Ramadan; Fasting; Women; Najran city; Saudi Arabia.

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