Low Prevalence of Breastfeeding Counselling during ANC Visits in the Hospitals of Kathmandu Valley
Breastfeeding counselling during antenatal period is important for mothers to practice optimal breastfeeding. It increases the likelihood of mothers to practice optimal breastfeeding after delivery. However, there is lack of breastfeeding information for women visiting for antenatal care (ANC) in the hospitals. This study aimed to examine if women visiting health facility for antenatal care received breastfeeding counselling and further seeks to compare initial breast feeding practices among mothers who received and did not receive the breastfeeding counselling.
Data for analysis in this study was obtained from Helen Keller International’s hospital based study, where 304 mothers at discharge after delivery were interviewed. A structured questionnaire was used to collect the data during the period December 2013 to February 2014. Our analysis included 304 mothers at discharge after delivery from the hospitals of Kathmandu Valley. Descriptive statistics were employed to observe women’s characteristics and prevalence of breastfeeding counselling. Bivariate analysis was performed to see association between women’s characteristics and breastfeeding counselling; and initial breastfeeding practices and breastfeeding counselling, with p-value <0.05 in the chi-square test.
Only 11.6% women had received breastfeeding counselling during ANC visits. There was no significant difference in breastfeeding counselling by mother’s age, area of residence, education, and involvement in paid work. Interestingly, the significant difference in receiving breastfeeding counselling was found to be associated with types of hospital visited. Mothers who visited government and semi-government hospitals were more likely to receive ANC counselling than those who visited private hospitals. Furthermore, the study findings showed that initial breastfeeding practices are higher for those who received breastfeeding information during ANC in comparison to who didn’t received.
Emphasizing breastfeeding counselling during ANC visits is important to have positive impact on optimal breastfeeding practices and ultimately contribute to child health and nutrition. Further study is suggested to further explore why breastfeeding counselling during ANC visit is neglected in the hospitals, as counselling has the potential to improve breastfeeding practice and ultimately child health and nutrition.