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Is Baby-Friendly Breastfeeding Mother-Friendly?

Mbada, Chidozie Emmanuel MSc, PhD, PT1; Oyinlola, Folasade Christianah BMR, PT1; Olatunbosun, Tolulope Olasoji MSc, PT2; Awotidebe, Taofeek Oluwole MEd, PT1; Arije, Olujide Olusesan MBBS3; Johnson, Olubusola Esther MEd, MSc, PhD, PT1; Fashote, Emmanuel Odunayo BMR, PT1

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/April 2013 - Volume 37 - Issue 1 - p 19–28
doi: 10.1097/JWH.0b013e3182864e92
Research Reports

Objective: To assess the lifetime (previous and present positive history) and point (present positive history) prevalence of breastfeeding position–related musculoskeletal pain (BPRMSP) among breastfeeding mothers attending selected baby-friendly facilities in southwestern Nigeria.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Background: The benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child are well documented. However, musculoskeletal pain associated with breastfeeding positions has not been well investigated.

Materials and Measures: A total of 383 mothers who practiced exclusive breastfeeding volunteered for this study, yielding a response rate of 95.7%. Data were obtained on sociodemographics, breastfeeding positions, and BPRMSP. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics at the .05 α level.

Results: The respondents' mean age was 29.0 ± 4.96 years, and 60.6% of the respondents reported no positive history of BPRMSP. Lifetime and point prevalence of BPRMSP were 39.4% and 15.9%, respectively. Breastfeeding position–related musculoskeletal pain occurred mostly with sitting on a mat (20.5%) or bedside (39.4%) and affected the neck (20.5%), neck and shoulder (16.6%), or back and neck (12.6%). The BPRMSP severity ranged between 2.4 and 5.8 on a 10-point scale, occurred mostly within 3 to 6 months of birth (39.7%), was typically intermittent (58.3%), and required the use of medication in 53.6% of the respondents. Parity and younger age were significantly associated with the prevalence of BPRMSP (P < .05). Primiparae had higher lifetime (24.5%) and point (10.4%) prevalence of BPRMSP.

Conclusion: Musculoskeletal pain in breastfeeding is common among mothers who breastfed sitting on a mat or bedside. The pain is often mild, affecting mostly the neck, shoulder, and back. Breastfeeding primiparae and younger mothers had higher rates of musculoskeletal pain.

1Department of Medical Rehabilitation, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria.

2Department of Physiotherapy, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria.

3Department of Community Health, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the Section on Women's Health, American Physical Therapy Association.