Breastfeeding perception among Medical students of Islamic International Medical College (IIMC) in relation to COVID-19 pandemic

  • Saba Afzal IIMCT Riphah University
  • Ammara Ayub
  • Faheem Ahmed Subhani
  • Bilal Ahmed
  • Ahtasham Rehman
  • Huma Afzal
Keywords: Breastfeeding, COVID 19, Medical Students.


Introduction: Breastfeeding is crucial for the development & growth of the infant in the early years of life. Unfortunately, the incidence of breastfeeding is very low in our part of the world. Doctors play a critical role in the public awareness of the benefits & importance of breastfeeding. This study is done to find out the perception, knowledge and attitude of medical students about breastfeeding and its implications during COVID 19 pandemic.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Islamic International Medical College (IIMC) from 10 November 2021 to 30 November 2021. An online questionnaire was sent to the students of MBBS from first to final year via email. Results were analyzed on SPSS version 21.

Results: A total of 316 students participated. The majority of students were aware of the initiation, duration and advantages of breastfeeding. 88% of students answered that breast milk is an ideal food for a baby. 77.2% had the perception that breastfeeding increases mother-infant bonding. 71.51% of students answered that breastfed babies have fewer health-related issues compared to formula-fed babies. 40 % of students were of the idea that there is a risk of transmission of COVID 19 from mother to baby if breastfed fed while 42% believed that breastfeeding protects against COVID 19.

Conclusion: The majority of the students of IIMC were aware of the benefits of breastfeeding but most of them lacked knowledge of breastfeeding by mothers suffering from COVID 19. The medical curriculum should have more emphasis on nutrition counselling for both mothers and children and information regarding breastfeeding particularly during situations like COVID 19 pandemic.


1. Hunsberger M, Lanfer A, Reeske A, Veidebaum T, Russo P, Hadjigeorgiou C, et al. Infant feeding practices and prevalence of obesity in eight European countries - the IDEFICS study. Public Health Nutr. 2013;16(2):219–27.
2. Biggs K V., Fidler KJ, Shenker NS, Brown H. Are the doctors of the future ready to support breastfeeding? A cross-sectional study in the UK. Int Breastfeed J. 2020;15(1):1–8.
3. Brion MJA, Lawlor DA, Matijasevich A, Horta B, Anselmi L, Araújo CL, et al. What are the causal effects of breastfeeding on IQ, obesity and blood pressure? Evidence from comparing high-income with middle-income cohorts. Int J Epidemiol. 2011;40(3):670–80.
4. Schwarz EB. The Maternal Health Benefits of Breastfeeding [Internet]. Vol. 91, American Family Physician. 2015 May [cited 2021 Jun 22]. Available from:
5. De Azevedo SJS, Dos Santos FAPS, Vieira CENK, Mariz LS, da Silva AN, Enders BC. Knowledge of man about breastfeeding. Acta Sci - Heal Sci. 2016;38(2):153–8.
6. WORLD DATA ATLAS. Pakistan - Infant mortality rate. 2020.
7. Afshan K, Narjis G, Qureshi IZ, Cappello M. Social determinants and causes of child mortality in Pakistan: Analysis of national demographic health surveys from 1990 to 2013. J Paediatr Child Health. 2020;56(3):457–72.
8. Regionais D, Administrativa E, Iorque DN, Rasheed S, Brundtland GH. The optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Geneva; 2001.
9. CDC. Breastfeeding Report Card | Breastfeeding | CDC [Internet]. Cdc. 2020 [cited 2021 Jun 22]. Available from:
10. UNICEF. Why family-friendly policies are critical to increasing breastfeeding rates worldwide - UNICEF. 2019.
11. Emran NA, Noor ASA, Zulkefli NAM. Knowledge and attitude towards breastfeeding among medical students in a public university in Malaysia. Int Med J. 2004;3(2).
12. KAZMI T, Shah B, Haq M, Husain S, Zehra T. Breast-Feeding perception of female medical students of Karachi. Prof Med J Apr-Jun. 2011;18(2):167–73.
13. Anjum Q, Ashfaq T, Siddiqui H. Knowledge regarding breastfeeding practices among medical students of Ziauddin University Karachi. J Pak Med Assoc. 2007;57(10):480–3.
14. Mohamad N, Saddki N, Azman KNK, Aziz IDA. Knowledge, attitude, exposure, and future intentions toward exclusive breastfeeding among Universiti Sains Malaysia final year medical and dental students. Korean J Fam Med. 2019;40(4):261–8.
15. Sultania P, Agrawal NR, Rani A, Dharel D, Charles R, Dudani R. Breastfeeding knowledge and behaviour among women visiting a tertiary care centre in India: A cross-sectional survey. Ann Glob Heal. 2019;85(1):1–9.
16. Kavanagh KF, Lou Z, Nicklas JC, Habibi MF, Murphy LT. Breastfeeding knowledge, attitudes, prior exposure, and intent among undergraduate students. J Hum Lact. 2012;28(4):556–64.
17. Ahmed A, Bantz D, Richardson C. BREASTFEEDING KNOWLEDGE OF UNIVERSITY NURSING STUDENTS. MCN, Am J Matern Nurs. 2011;36(6):361–7.
How to Cite
Afzal S, Ayub A, Subhani F, Ahmed B, Rehman A, Afzal H. Breastfeeding perception among Medical students of Islamic International Medical College (IIMC) in relation to COVID-19 pandemic. JRMC [Internet]. 30Jun.2022 [cited 24Sep.2022];26(2):286-9. Available from: