Knowledge of and attitude to infant feeding in Glasgow and Bahrain

Alnasir, Faisal Abdul Latif (1987) Knowledge of and attitude to infant feeding in Glasgow and Bahrain. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In the past few decades popular attitudes to Infant feeding, in Europe and in the developing countries have been continually changing. More women in the Western countries are now choosing to nurse their children naturally but in the developing countries (for instance Bahrain), formerly a bastion of the traditional method, an increasing number, influenced by Western ideas and by the propaganda of the baby-food manufacturers, are turning to artificial feeding. Natural feeding, however, is still used more widely in some of the developing countries than the industrialized countries. In both areas - pleasant to relate - an increasing number of mothers do have a desire to breast-feed but few manage to maintain it for a prolonged period. In the European countries young women often have less information about breast-feeding simply because they are less exposed to it, but on the other hand they are bombarded with advertisements and live in an environment which develop positive attitudes towards artificial feeding. In contrast, while the young female of the developing countries is more familiar with breast-feeding and with more positive attitudes towards it, the concept of artificial feeding has been misunderstood. More of them view bottle-feeding as a modern method and believe that ready-made commercially-available baby foods are a superior method of infant feeding promising a healthier and better developed child. To examine such attitudes and hidden knowledge this study was carried out in Bahrain and in Glasgow. It is a progressive cross-cultural study in which a group of schoolgirls was interviewed in Bahrain while constructed questionnaires were sent to their Glasgow counterparts. Another group of women in their first pregnancy were seen at the first antenatal visit; contact was kept up during the pregnancy and through the post-natal period. An attempt was made to find out their original choice and attitudes towards infant feeding and their background of knowledge. The pregnant women were sent postal questionnaires during late pregnancy and at 3 and 6 months post-delivery. These questionnaires were designed to find out whether the patients' attitude had changed over the passage of time and to discover the factors that could have influenced the change, if any. Among the other aims were to discover the source of support and encouragement that these women anticipated they would obtain early in pregnancy and from whom and from where they did obtain such support during pregnancy and post-delivery. Areas related to their knowledge, such as sources of information, were also investigated. Other factors related to the choice of infant feeding were investigated as well. The study has shown that although almost all of the Bahraini schoolgirls and women during pregnancy had positive attitudes towards breast-feeding, not all who wanted to breast-feed exclusively had done so after child-birth. On the other hand, a smaller number of the Glaswegian population had planned, during pregnancy, to breast-feed. But among the women who showed their wish during pregnancy to breast-feed exclusively, a higher percentage of the Glaswegian women than in Bahrain had kept to their decision after delivery. However, the number of women who continued breast-feeding until 3 and 6 months was much higher in Bahrain than in Glasgow. Their own investigation and parents were the major sources from which the Bahraini population obtained information about infant feeding and child-rearing while the clinic was the one mentioned by the majority of the Glaswegian women. However, for both populations, it was disappointing to find that although a considerable number of patients, in early pregnancy, anticipated that such information would be given by the doctor, very few patients had in fact obtained such information, even at a late stage of pregnancy, from their doctor. Despite education and advice from health professionals a large number of women from both countries introduced solid feeding early. This study reinforces the need for more and continuous educational programmes designed to encourage and promote breast-feeding. Such education should be delivered not only to pregnant women but also to young girls. There is also a need for more support and understanding for the women if the habit of breast-feeding is to become more widespread. Hospital procedures and practices and professional attitudes should all be adjusted so that a favourable atmosphere towards breast-feeding is developed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medicine, Nutrition, Public health
Date of Award: 1987
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1987-76666
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 13:56
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 13:56

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