Predictors of Exclusive Breastfeeding among Nulliparous Iranian Mothers: Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

Authors

1 MSc Student, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.

2 Associated Professor, The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, The Persian Gulf Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran

Abstract

Background
Although exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is highly emphasized by the experts, nulliparous women do not adhere to this behavior at a desirable level. Since it seems that mothers’ beliefs and values play an important role in their adherence to these behaviors, the present study, aimed to perform a careful analysis of the behavior and evaluation of factors associated with the EBF in nulliparous women referring to healthcare centers in Bushehr using theory of planned behavior.
Materials and Methods
 This is a cross-sectional study, which was conducted on 400 nulliparous mothers with children less than six-months who referred to healthcare centers in Bushehr, Iran. Stratified random-sample was used and data were collected using a researcher-made questionnaire and were later analyzed using statistical tests, including Pearson, Spearman, linear regression and logistic regression in SPSS version 22.0 Software.
Results
The results showed that 62.5% of infants were exclusively breast-fed. Variables such as infant' gender, father's occupation and type of pregnancy were significantly related with EBF behavior. Constructs, including attitude (P< 0. 001, r=0.295), subjective norms (P< 0. 001, r=0.376) and perceived behavioral control (P< 0. 001, r=514) were significantly correlated with the EBF intention. Subjective norms, perceived behavioral control and behavioral intention predicted 13.8% changes in mothers' breastfeeding behavior.
Conclusion
 The theory of planned behavior is an appropriate framework to identify factors associated with the EBF behavior among nulliparous Iranian mothers. Therefore, designing interventions based on this theory seems to have the potential to improve the EBF practice.

Keywords