Muslim women's attitudes toward infant feeding in Qatar: An exploration using the Iowa infant feeding attitude scale

Midwifery. 2022 Nov;114:103470. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2022.103470. Epub 2022 Sep 9.

Abstract

Background: Maternal attitude toward infant feeding is an important determinant of breastfeeding. The Islamic faith encourages breastfeeding, yet many Muslim women do not breastfeed as per the World Health Organization recommendations. In the Middle East, research has not addressed attitudes toward infant feeding among Muslim women. Assessing women's attitudes toward infant feeding choices is crucial to improve breastfeeding rates among Muslim women.

Aim: The aims of this study are to (a) examine postpartum Muslim women's attitudes toward infant feeding, (b) identify the determinants of these attitudes, and (c) determine whether attitudes can predict breastfeeding intention among Muslim women. A secondary aim is to examine the psychometric attributes of the Iowa Infant Feeding Attitude Scale among Muslim women.

Method: A convenience sample of postpartum Muslim women (N = 414) were recruited between November 2019 and January 2020 in a large maternity facility in Qatar. A pre-developed questionnaire and the IIFAS were used to collect data. Both Arabic (n = 228) and English (n = 186) versions of the IIFAS were distributed postnatally to measure Muslim women's attitudes towards breastfeeding. A total attitude score was computed with higher scores indicating a more positive attitude toward breastfeeding.

Findings: The mean age of participants was 30.3 ± 5.2 years; 65.2% had a university degree and only 20.5% were employed. The mean attitude score was 61.8 ± 7.8. A significant association was found between the IIFAS attitude score and ethnicity, favouring Non-Qatari Arab women who had significantly higher attitude scores (p < .001). Women with full-time or part-time work had significantly higher scores than those not working (p = .008, p = .023). Older women had significantly lower attitude scores (adjusted slope = -0.230, p = .008). Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient of the Arabic and English versions of the IIFAS ranged from 0.69 to 0.80.

Conclusion: Ethnicity, employment status, and age are determinants of infant feeding attitudes among Muslim women. In Qatar, Muslim women's attitudes related to breastfeeding trend toward positive; however, attitude is not a predictor of antenatal breastfeeding intention. Further research employing a larger sample with a focus on a culturally sensitive approach is recommended. The IIFAS has a moderate reliability level and needs to be culturally adapted to be used among a Muslim population.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; IOWA infant feeding attitude scale (IIFAS); Muslim; Postpartum.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Islam*
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires