A cross-sectional survey of the knowledge, attitudes and influences affecting the pre-pregnancy perception of breastfeeding in women from different cultural backgrounds
Bowen, Alison Margaret
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Breastfeeding initiation rates in the UK are amongst the lowest in Europe, despite its unequalled and unparalleled health benefits for mother and infant. This research aimed to assess the factors that affect the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions, of multi-cultural, pre-pregnancy women in the UK, toward the intention to initiate breastfeeding. The study was cross-sectional and used a self-directed qualitative/quantitative questionnaire on n=40 women aged 18-29 years. The results showed a more positive breastfeeding attitude in those of black-ethnic-minority compared to caucasians when reporting: intention to feed with breast-milk, and length of time to exclusively breastfeed. A strong association was also seen between higher education levels (linked with social class) and intention to breastfeed. The three influential factors which supported breastfeeding intentions in this sample were: being breastfed as a baby, prior exposure to breastfeeding and family support. To conclude, those of black-ethnic- minority background were more supportive of, and displayed a more positive attitude towards breastfeeding, than those of caucasian background. A recommendation from this research points to the need for qualified dietitians to be encouraged to work with midwifes/health visitors in a greater capacity, with the objective of overcoming breastfeeding barriers in pre-pregnancy caucasians.
BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics