Knowledge, attitudes and practices of expressing breast milk among working lactating mothers with infants less than 6 months.
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Background Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months plays a great role in preventing infant morbidity and mortality. However, there are many huddles including mother’s return to work. Attempts to address work related challenges to EBF focus on setting up supportive national polices such as the infant and young child Feeding policy (IYCF), legislation such as paid maternity leave and breastfeeding breaks and setting up breastfeeding corners. However, very few mothers in Uganda benefit from such policies. Such cases can benefit from breast milk expression if they have the right knowledge and a good attitude towards expressing breast milk. Objective To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of expressing breast milk among working lactating mothers with infants less than 6 months. Methods A cross section study was conducted at the Young Child Clinic in Komamboga Health Center III on working mothers with infants less than 6 months using interviewer administered semi structured questionnaires. Results The mean knowledge score was 12.9% (64.5%), 13.8% had good knowledge, 82.5% had satisfactory knowledge and 3.7% had poor knowledge of expressed breast milk. Majority of the participants (67.3%) had a positive attitude towards expressing breast milk and the mean attitude score was 16.9 (70.4%). Only 12.8% practiced breast milk expression and the major reason was to relieve breast engorgement (28.9%). Most participants discarded the breast milk after expressing (42.1%) Conclusion and recommendation Although majority of the participants in this study had satisfactory knowledge about breast milk expression, very few practiced it and most would rather opt for breast milk substitutes than express breast milk. Increasing working mothers’ awareness and skills regarding breast milk expression right from antenatal clinics and through post natal care would increase the likelihood of these mothers to express breast milk and thereby sustain exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended 6 months.