Current Pediatric Reviews

Giuseppe Buonocore
Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine
University of Siena


Breastfeeding Support for Working Mothers: Global and Pakistani Perspectives

Author(s): Shela Akbar Ali Hirani, Rozina Karmaliani.


Breastfeeding is an important aspect of parenting, however, working mothers often find it challenging to continue breastfeeding, especially if breastfeeding support is minimal or absent. Pakistan is a developing country with the second highest child mortality rate in South Asia. Recent surveys document a gradual decline in the prevalence of breastfeeding in Pakistan, especially among urban working mothers. The aim of this paper is to identify the sources of breastfeeding support for working mothers, as well as to explore the availability of instruments that can measure their perceptions about breastfeeding support.

A literature review documented working mothers who breastfeed require emotional and tangible support to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. Sources of support include the availability and access to information about breastfeeding management (informational support), family and child daycare facilities (social support), anticipatory guidance from health care professionals (health care support), and a workplace environment that provides physical facilities conducive to breastfeeding with accompanying policies and the respect of both the employers and the co-workers (workplace support). The literature also documents the importance of assessing working mothers’ perceptions about breastfeeding support. The strengths and limitations of existing instruments that measure working mothers’ perceptions of breastfeeding support were evaluated and the feasibility of using these instruments with women in Pakistan was determined. We determined that existing instruments do not comprehensively measure all aspects of breastfeeding support and are applicable to working mothers in the United States. A comprehensive, validated, and reliable tool is needed in the national language of Pakistan to measure Pakistani working mothers’ perceptions about breastfeeding support.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, child health, employment, pakistan, support, working mother

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [313 - 321]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/157339612803307705
Price: $58