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Acta Paediatr. 2005 Sep;94(9):1303-9.

Breastfeeding patterns, beliefs and attitudes among Kurdish mothers in Diyarbakir, Turkey.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Dicle University, Diyarbakir, and UNICEF Office, Ankara, Turkey.



The aim was to rapidly assess existing breastfeeding patterns, beliefs and attitudes in the province of Diyarbakir, a socio-economically disadvantaged region of Turkey.


A cross-sectional survey exploring demographic and breastfeeding patterns was carried out among 921 mothers with children 6-18 mo of age. Results were quantitatively analysed. Focus group interviews dealing with beliefs and attitudes were separately carried out among 107 mothers and analysed by qualitative content analysis.


Nearly all mothers had breastfed their infants at some time, but exclusive breastfeeding was rare. About 62.2% of the mothers had waited for at least 24 h before initiating breastfeeding. Almost half of the infants received sweetened water as a first feeding. There was agreement on the superiority of breastfeeding and awareness of its contraceptive effect. Early introduction of sugared water, water and supplementary feeds was considered desirable. Working in the fields and pregnancy were considered situations counteracting breastfeeding.


The attitude to breastfeeding was highly positive, but more information is needed to encourage the use of colostrum, discourage early supplementation and promote exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 mo of life.

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