Mal J Nutr 21(3): 309 - 319, 2015

Knowledge and Attitudes towards Breastfeeding among Unmarried Female Graduates at the University of Jordan
Hayder A Al-Domi


Introduction: Breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for infants. It provides numerous health benefits to both mothers and infants. This study aimed to determine knowledge and attitudes toward breastfeeding among unmarried, young, female graduates of the University of Jordan.
Methods: A total of 627 female graduates aged 23.2 ± 0.8 years were recruited from different faculties of the University of Jordan to participate in this study. The study participants were given a validated questionnaire based on the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale. It consisted of 14 items on knowledge and 8 items on attitudes toward breastfeeding.
Results: There was a remarkable discordance in the responses of the participants between their knowledge and attitude towards breasifeeding. Whilst 94% of them stated they knew that breast milk is the best food for infants, and 91% agreed that breastfeeding is a valued tradition that mothers should maintain, 99% stated that they would prefer bottle-feeding over breastfeeding as breasifeeding was an old feeding practice. More than 61% agreed that human breast milk is easily digested when compared to formula milk, and 65.9% indicated that they knew that formula-fed babies were more likely to be overfed than breasifed babies (P=0.01). Moreover, 83% of them indicated that mothers should not breastfeed in public places such as restaurants. Mean level of knowledge score of female graduates from health faculties was moderate compared to the low level among graduates from both scientific and humanitarian faculties (P=0.012).
Conclusion: Although a certain level of positive knowledge about breastfeeding existed among a group of young women graduates of the University of Jordan, their attitudes towards breastfeeding practices were negative. This is an important area for policy makers in order to build capacity of people to support the practice of breastfeeding and consequently increase the rate of both breastfeeding initiation and overall breasifeeding duration.

Keywords: Attitudes, breastfeeding, health, Jordan, knowledge, policy, university students

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