Breastfeeding problems: an analysis of secondary data from Lactation Management Unit at the national referral hospital in Bhutan from 2014 to 2016

  • Kencho Zangmo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Thimphu, Bhutan.
  • Diki Wangmo Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences, Thimphu, Bhutan.
  • Tashi Tobgay Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences, Thimphu, Bhutan.
  • Mongal S Gurung Ministry of Health, Thimphu, Bhutan.
Keywords: Breastfeeding problems; Breastfeeding techniques; Exclusive breastfeeding; Nipple sore.


Introduction: Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and best forms of preventive medicine for the newborns. Lack of optimal breastfeeding contributes to about over million preventable child deaths every year. Despite numerous benefits of breastfeeding and continuous efforts to improve breastfeeding practices, breastfeeding rates are far from optimal. Problems faced by lactating mothers while breastfeeding are main reason leading to non-exclusive breastfeeding or early termination of breastfeeding. This descriptive study is aimed at examining breastfeeding problems among women visiting Lactation Management Unit [LMU] at Bhutan’s national referral hospital in Thimphu.

Methods: Data of all 2751 women-infant pair visiting Lactation management unit of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital with breastfeeding problems were double entered into Epi Data (version 3.1). Using STATA, descriptive statistical analyses were carried to examine common breastfeeding problems among the lactating mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding rates were also examined among the group.

Results: The commonest types of breastfeeding problem were nipple sore (60.8%), incorrect breastfeeding techniques (12.9%), and nipple problems (8.2%). Teenage, first timers, caesarean delivery, preterm infants, underweight infants, and mothers with full time paid job were more likely to suffer from breastfeeding problems.

Conclusion: Breastfeeding interventions for timely correction of breastfeeding techniques early in postnatal units could warrant prevention of up to 73.7% breastfeeding problems and thus, promoting exclusive breastfeeding and preventing early termination of breastfeeding.


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