BREASTFEEDING KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE AMONG SCHOOL TEACHERS IN RIYADH: A CROSS-SECTIONAL DESCRIPTIVE STUDY
Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months of a child’s life. The support of working mothers in successful breastfeeding experiences world- wide continues to be a significant public health issue despite numerous relevant policies and legislation. This study assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards breastfeeding amongst female teachers in Riyadh and identified factors that could affect their breastfeeding practice. The study also assessed the breastfeeding practice of the same female teachers by specifically comparing the length of time they typically breastfed with the WHO’s recommendations. Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional descriptive approach using a validated anonymous survey hosted by Qualtrics was conducted. 280 female teachers from Riyadh were recruited via convenience non-probability sampling. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistical analyses. Results: Almost two-thirds of the respondents (64.6%) had good knowledge of the benefits of colostrum for babies after delivery. However, only 35.4% of the respondents believed they should implement EBF for a baby’s first six months of life, and only 27.3% implemented EBF for up to six months. The results also revealed that breast milk insufficiency (32.1%) and adverse work-related issues (25.0%) were reported as the main rea- sons for the very low rate of EBF amongst the study population. Finally, the study investigated the relation- ship between the sociodemographic characteristics of female teachers in Riyadh and their attitudes towards breastfeeding. Implications for public health and health promotion: Given the recommendations by the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund, this study’s findings indicate that the breastfeeding KAP amongst Riyadh schoolteachers is relatively suboptimal. Therefore, a more concerted effort is needed from health care providers and public health authorities in Saudi Arabia to plan strategically for the future and improve the KAP of breastfeeding amongst female schoolteachers and the wider community.