Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Postpartum women's perception of antenatal breastfeeding education: a descriptive survey

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posted on 2022-11-30, 16:32 authored by May Loong Tan, Siew Cheng Foong, Jacqueline J Ho, Wai Cheng Foong, Rokiah Mohd, Zuhaida Harun

Background: Antenatal breastfeeding education (ANBE) is provided to all pregnant women attending Ministry of Health (MOH) clinics and some private health facilities in Malaysia, in line with the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). However, the 6 month exclusive breastfeeding prevalence remains relatively low in Malaysia, suggesting that there may be a gap between what is currently taught and what is received by the women.

Objectives: To determine how women perceived their ANBE experience in the first 8 weeks postpartum including what was useful and what they would like to have been included, sources of ANBE and infant feeding practices at the time of survey.

Methods: Women during their first 8 weeks postpartum who attended MOH clinics in Penang State, Malaysia were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire in April and May 2015. Categorical responses were presented as numbers and proportions while free text responses were compiled verbatim and categorised into themes. The perceptions of primiparous and multiparous women were compared. Multivariate logistic regression adjusted to known confounders was used to determine if ANBE was associated with exclusive breastfeeding at the time of survey.

Results: A total of 421 women completed the 15-item questionnaire (84% response rate) of which 282 were complete and available for analysis. Of these, 95% had received ANBE, majority (88%) from MOH clinics. Almost all women found it useful. However, there were areas both in the delivery (e.g. too short) and the content (e.g. nothing new) that were described as not useful; and areas they would like more coverage (e.g. milk expression, storage and overcoming low milk supply). The exclusive breastfeeding prevalence at the time of survey was 61%. ANBE was significantly associated with exclusive breastfeeding even after adjusting for confounders (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 8.1, 95% confidence interval 1.7, 38.3).

Conclusions: ANBE is widely implemented and perceived as useful and may be associated with exclusive breastfeeding. Our findings give insight into content that women would like more of and how delivery of ANBE could be improved, including individualized sessions and communicating at a suitable level and language. Future studies could focus on the quality of ANBE delivery.



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Published Citation

Tan ML. et al. Postpartum women's perception of antenatal breastfeeding education: a descriptive survey. Int Breastfeed J. 2020;15(1):85.

Publication Date

14 October 2020

PubMed ID



BioMed Central


  • Published Version (Version of Record)