AbstractBackground. Breastfeeding plays a crucial role in an infant’s growth and development. EBF during the first 6 months of an infant’s life protects against infections such as gastroenteritis and respiratory tract infections, and against malnutrition. Breastfeeding support from health professionals, including nursing students, can have a considerable impact on the mother’s decision to initiate and continue EBF. However, nursing students do not always receive adequate teaching on EBF during their course of study. EBF remains a challenge in Namibia, and elsewhere in the world. Objectives. To explore knowledge and attitudes regarding EBF among 3rd-year nursing students at the University of Namibia. Methods. A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive study design was used. Self-administered questionnaires were handed out to each 3rd-year nursing student at the main campus and in clinical settings. The convenience sample size was 86, but only 74 questionnaires were completed and returned. Data were analysed using SPSS version 20 software. Results. The majority of the respondents (79.7%) strongly agreed that human milk alone can sustain an infant for 6 months. Overall knowledge was satisfactory; 97.3% of participants knew the recommended duration of EBF, and 82.4% knew that breastfeeding should commence within 1 hour after delivery. Conclusion. This study illustrates the need to enhance a maternal and child health curriculum that promotes positive attitudes to breastfeeding in nursing students. The main challenge observed was failure of the participants to define what EBF is and what it entails.
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