STUDY OBJECTIVE--The study aimed to investigate some aspects of breast feeding, namely-lactation amenorrhea, the average interval between pregnancies, and the extent of knowledge that an average Saudi woman has about breast feeding. DESIGN--This was a cross sectional study in which a pretested questionnaire was used to collect the information. SETTING--The study was conducted in the Taif area between January and April of 1990. Seventy nine primary health care centres participated. PARTICIPANTS--Altogether 1019 of 2400 women contacted who agreed to participate and met the criteria were studied. Eligible subjects were defined as Saudi women, between 16 and 40 years old, who came with their infants for vaccination, and had delivered between one week and 12 months previously. Each mother had at least one other child. MEASUREMENT AND MAIN RESULT--At birth, the percentage of infants who were initially breast fed was 98% but within three days of delivery over two thirds (68.9%) of the mothers gave other supplementary liquids to their infants. At the time of interview more than half (55.1%) of mothers had lactation amenorrhea. The mean (SD) lactation amenorrhea period and birth interval were 5.95 (5) and 26.8 (14.1) months, respectively. Mothers obtained information on breast feeding mainly from their doctors and television. Within families, husbands had the primary role in encouraging their wives to breast feed, followed by the mother and then by the mother in law. It was found that a high percentage (94.2%) of women had breast fed their previous child. CONCLUSION--The lack of adequate information on breast feeding and the short interval between births are local problems which should be considered by the health authorities.
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