Purpose/objective: To assess the correct position, attachment and effective suckling in the breastfeeding of infants as practiced by mothers attending hospitals at Benghazi.
Materials and methods: An observational, descriptive, cross-sectional study was done at AlJamahiriya and AlFateh Hospital in Benghazi, Libya, from November 2009 to February 2010. One hundred ninety-two mother-neonate units were observed for mother's and baby's position, attachment and effective suckling using WHO B-R-E-A-S-T- Feed observation form. Grading of positioning, attachment and suckling was done according to the score of various characteristics. Data thus collected were analyzed using software SPSS 11.5 version.
Results: About 15% of the infants were about a week old (early neonatal period) and 85% were in the late neonatal period. There was poorer positioning among primipara (24.0%) than multipara (8.9-12.5%)mothers. Poorer attachment was also more evident among primipara (30.0%) compared to multipara (20.9%) mothers. Parity was significantly associated with poor position (P = 0.028) and attachment (P = 0.002). Poor attachment was related to cracked nipples and mastitis. Preterm and low birth weight were significantly associated with poor attachment and poor effective suckling. Poor suckling was more (42.8%) in the early neonatal period than late neonatal period (32.9%).
Conclusions and recommendations: Young (<20 years) and primipara mothers were more in need of support and guidance for appropriate breastfeeding techniques. It is recommended that each mother should be observed for mother's and infant's positioning and attachment at the onset of breastfeeding and if needed subsequent counseling should be given on correct positioning and attachment.
Keywords: Attachment (latch-on); breastfeeding practices; effective suckling; positioning.