Thai nurses' beliefs about breastfeeding and postpartum practices
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堃ultural beliefs are important determinants of health care behaviours. Nurses have an important influence on infant feeding decisions and maternal postpartum care, but little is known about the extent to which their practice is influenced by traditional beliefs and/or recent innovations driven by evidence-based research. 堔he aim of this study was to investigate Thai nurses' traditional beliefs about breastfeeding and related postpartum care, and their impact on nursing practice. 堁 survey of 372 nurses working in hospitals and health services in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand was undertaken. Questionnaire items were developed from a review of the literature and exploratory interviews with Thai women. Descriptive statistics were used to represent the incidence of particular beliefs and behaviours. Chi-square analyses were conducted to determine relationships between demographic characteristics and traditional beliefs and practices. 堔here were discrepancies between nurses' beliefs and contemporary evidence-based practices. Many nurses supported traditional Thai postpartum practices such as food restrictions and encouraging hot baths. Some traditional beliefs supported by nurses may be detrimental to women and babies such as 'lying by fire', discarding of colostrum, and giving boiled water to neonates. Only half the nurses reported that they encouraged mothers to breastfeed immediately following birth. 堔he study was undertaken in the North-East of Thailand, where the population is known to have strong belief systems. Reliability and content validity of the tool would be enhanced through replication studies and qualitative investigations of other breastfeeding issues. 堔here is a need for professional development strategies such as peer review and mentoring to address inadequate knowledge and outdated practices of some health professionals, as well as continuity of care models to assess quality care outcomes that are culturally appropriate.
Journal of Clinical Nursing
© 2003 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at [www.blackwell-synergy.com.]