Perceptions of Mothers and Community Members Regarding Breastfeeding in Public Spaces in Alexandra, Gauteng Province, South Africa
Madimetja Nyaloko1, *, Welma Lubbe1, Karin Minnie1
1 Department of Nursing, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Mothers experience significant barriers to breastfeed in public spaces, which could result in a detrimental impact on the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding. Failure to support and accept breastfeeding in public spaces could lead to mixed feeding or even abandonment of breastfeeding.
The current study aimed to identify the knowledge of breastfeeding benefits and perceptions about it among mothers and community members in Alexandra, Gauteng Province, South Africa.
A quantitative, non-experimental descriptive study was deployed using two structured questionnaires, which were distributed among mothers (n=96) and community members (n=96). All 192 questionnaires were completed and returned, although two questionnaires of mothers could not be used due to incompleteness. An excel spread sheet and Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 25 was used to analyze the data.
The findings of the current study revealed a positive correlation between the knowledge level about breastfeeding benefits [infants (r=0.45, p≤0.000) and mothers (r=0.29, p≤0.000)] and perceptions in public spaces. Community members and mothers who were knowledgeable regarding breastfeeding benefits exhibited supportive attitudes towards breastfeeding in public spaces.
Altogether, the majority of mothers (69%) were comfortable to breastfeed in public spaces, and community members (84%) were supportive. Limited knowledge of breastfeeding benefits was associated with unsupportive attitudes towards breastfeeding in public spaces. Health messages that target these factors are essential to encourage support and acceptance of breastfeeding in public spaces. This could be executed through public education via posters in public spaces and during community health outreaches.
Keywords: Perceptions, Knowledge, Mothers, Community members, Exclusive breastfeeding, Public spaces.
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
* Address correspondence to this author at the NuMiQ Focus Area, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; Tel: +2727 017 1461; E-mail: Madimetja.firstname.lastname@example.org