Relationship Between Psychological Factors and Initiation of Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Mothers In Kangundo Level 4 Hospital In Machakos County, Kenya
Musyoka, Rael Munzuu
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The practice of exclusive breastfeeding is critical to the short, medium and long term health of a child as well as the mother. It has been affirmed that failure to observe EBF in low income as well as high income countries contributes significantly to child mortality, increased cases of preventable illnesses such as gastroenteritis and respiratory diseases, high rates of childhood diabetes and obesity.The negative consequences of failure to breastfeed exclusively have also been illustrated in a myriad of settings and populations although the net risks and benefits vary from one context to the other. Several studies have highlighted different factors that affect the duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Despite the knowledge acquired on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, the practice of EBF has not yet reached the WHO recommendation. It is also clear that most of these studies on breastfeeding have been carried out in the Developed countries. Additionally, few studies have focused on the relationship between psychological distress and mother’s attitude and initiation of EBF in a Kenyan context. This study addressed these gaps by carrying out the research in a developing country, Kenya, more specifically in Kangundo Level Hospital in Machakos County. Specifically, the study sought to establish the relationship between psychological distress and mother’s attitude and initiation of EBF. All these psychological factors were examined among mothers in Kangundo level 4 hospital with an expectation that they would have a relationship with the initiation of EBF. The study employed correlational research design. The target population of this study was new mothers, one hour postpartum from Kangundo Level 4 hospital who were healthy. The study utilized a purposive sampling where the researcher sampled out mothers who had given birth within the first hour postpartum. The researcher recruited a total of 220 new mothers. Data collection instruments were questionnaires; the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) was used to determine the level of psychological distress. Once informed consent was obtained from the interested women, the questionnaires were individually administered to them one hour post partum. During this time, the biodata, and levels of psychological distress and attitude were taken. Initiation of exclusive breastfeeding was also recorded. Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used in data analysis. Quantitative procedures were used to analyze the data collected. Descriptive statistics of frequencies, percentages and mean were used to analyze the data. The results of data collection were presented in the form of tables and bar graphs. Ethical considerations were also strictly upheld. For qualitative data, thematic analysis was used. Findings of the study according to the objectives were that, 40% of the participants initiated EBF within half an hour hence the study recommending more effort put in place to improve maternal health care services to allow prompt initiation of EBF: Majority of the participants (69.1%) had low levels of psychological distress and the study recommends training of health providers on strategies of providing psychological care to breastfeeding mothers to reduce the percentage of those who were experiencing higher levels of psychological distress: finally, the findings on the levels of attitude towards initiation of EBF established that majority of the respondents (69.1%) had positive attitude towards initiating EBF and the study recommends that more awareness is created on the benefits of EBF to encourage more mothers to adopt a positive attitude towards initiation of EBF.