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Jornal de Pediatria
On-line version ISSN 1678-4782
NAKAMURA, Soraia S.; VEIGA, Kledione F.; FERRARESE, Sany R. B. and MARTINEZ, Francisco E.. School girls' perception and knowledge about breastfeeding. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2003, vol.79, n.2, pp. 181-188. ISSN 1678-4782. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572003000200014.
OBJECTIVE: to compare two groups of school age girls from different social strata were compared in terms of their perception and knowledge about breastfeeding. METHODS: a structured questionnaire was applied to all 346 4th to 8th grade girls attending two schools, a private one, whose students belonged to the upper class (School A), and a public one, whose students belonged to the lower class (School B). RESULTS: about 90% of the girls reported having been breastfed and more than 98% had seen a mother breastfeeding. Only 14% of girls from School A and 26% from School B (p = 0.01) exclusively offered their breast or their breast and a bottle when playing with dolls. More than 80% of the girls stated that they would like to have a normal delivery and to breast-feed their child for more than 6 months, but 46% of the girls from School A and 32% from School B stated that they would be ashamed to breastfeed in public. About 90% of the girls considered human milk to be the best food for the baby, but only a small portion of them recognized other more specific advantages. Less than 1/3 would choose exclusive breastfeeding and about 60% would offer a pacifier to the baby. CONCLUSIONS: girls from both social strata are aware of the fact that breastfeeding is the best diet for a newborn baby, but are not aware of its specific advantages. Exclusive breastfeeding is not incorporated into the knowledge of most of these girls, since most of them consider offering water, tea, juices and a pacifier to be adequate practices. Teaching about breastfeeding at school should emphasize these concepts.
Keywords : breastfeeding; school girl; exclusive breasfeeding; pacifier.