Prevalence of Breastfeeding in Infants with Cleft of Lip / Palate and Challenges Faced by Mothers in Pakistan

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Author(s): Fatima Ashraf Ganatra,1 Sara Maratib Ali,2 Sahlish Kumar,3 Insiya Hashim,4 Komal Noorani,5 Iqra Ismail6

Received: 05/05/2023 | Published: 31/10/2023 | Pages: 45-51 |

Background: Cleft lip and cleft palate is congenital abnormality in which problem of feeding occurs immediately after birth, especially if the mother has first child and there is no family or expert medical support. Epidemiological data on prevalence ofbreastfeeding and its barriers among these children is significantly lacking. Our primary aim was to estimate the prevalence ofbreastfeeding among infants with cleft lip and/or palate in the city of third world country like Pakistan. Our secondary aims were to determine the challenges faced by mothers when breastfeeding these infants, and the extent of education/support they received.

Methodology: We conducted questionnaire-oriented interviews with mothers of infants born with oral clefts. All patients who presented to the cleft clinic in the study period were interviewed. Infants with co-morbid conditions were excluded to limit confounders. Data was compiled into and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences Version 23.0

Results: We recruited 336 participants in our study. Mean age of children was 10.5 months (standard deviation ± 7.6), and their age at the time of surgery ranged from 3 month to 3 years. 97.3% of mothers had the intention of breastfeeding their child before birth but only 75.9% could do so while 13% of these children were exclusively breastfed. 63.7% of mothers reported receiving feeding advice.

Conclusion: Prevalence of breast feeding was poor. One mother out of four was not able to feed their children due to various reasons. Mothers face inadequate guidance and lack of financial and moral support from families.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, cleft lip; cleft palate; craniofacial abnormalities; Pakistan.