Objective To investigate maternal attitude towards infant feeding and initial infant feeding choice and its association with social deprivation amongst postpartum women in Newport, South Wales.
Design A cohort of postpartum women who had given birth at the Royal Gwent hospital (n = 658) were asked to fill out an infant feeding survey prior to discharge. Information was collected on feeding choice, maternal socio-demographics. Welsh index of deprivation (WMID) was calculated from postcodes and the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale (IIFAS) was used to assess knowledge and attitude towards infant feeding.
Results Exclusive breastfeeding rates amongst mothers, living in the most deprived areas of Newport, South Wales was 32% (141/438) compared with 49% (107/220) of mothers living in the least deprived areas.
70% (198/281) of all mothers whose knowledge and attitude indicated a preference towards breastfeeding using the IIFAS, chose to exclusively breast feed their baby; alternatively 87% (186/213) of all mothers who chose to initially breast feed, their IIFAS indicated a preference towards breast feeding.
Of the mothers living in the most deprived areas of Newport, 48% (162/335) had knowledge and attitude that favoured breastfeeding, compared with 55% (104/189) of mothers living in the least deprived areas.
Conclusion Maternal knowledge and attitude towards infant feeding appears to be an important predictor for initial feeding choice. However, deprivation does not appear to influence maternal knowledge and attitude towards infant feeding.
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