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Background: The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) aims to promote, protect and support optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices among all women, irrespective of their employment status. Consequently the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), a Baby Friendly Hospital, has provided free Crèche services since 1996 to enable working mothers breastfeed their babies while at work, as they resume after 4 months of maternity leave.
Aims: To appraise attendance and use of the Crèche by health workers for the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding at the UPTH.
Study Design: Retrospective study.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Paediatrics, UPTH, Nigeria.
Methodology: Personal data and data on Crèche attendance were extracted from the Registers of children cared for at the Crèche between November 2006 and October 2016, entered into Excel Spreadsheet and analysed with SPSS version 20. Simple statistics were used to analyse and present data.
Results: One thousand and sixty-two children utilised the Crèche during the 10 years review period with total of 10,490 attendances. The children consisted of 604(57%) males and 458(43%) females, aged 6 weeks to 48 months (mean-6.44±2.54 months). An average of 93.6 children were cared for each month, with attendance showing a declining trend and they spent 2 to 9.5(mean-4.68) hours daily. The children attended the Crèche for 1 to 22(mean-7.35) days each month, while 32% of them attended only 1-3 days a month. Mothers from all clinical and non-clinical departments utilised the Crèche with nurses constituting 37%.
Conclusion: Utilisation of the Crèche services was sub-optimal. Its provision alone is insufficient to promote and support optimal IYCF practices among working women. User education and support for optimal IYCF practices are required. Access to Crèche services in all shifts and on all days should be guaranteed. Improved record keeping is required.
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