Background: Exclusive breastfeeding is the best pattern for feeding infants in the first 6 months of life. On the other hand, lactation patterns may be influenced by cultural factors. The present study aimed to determine relationships of Hofstede's cultural dimensions and lactation patterns in lactating mother.
Materials and Methods: The present cross-sectional study was conducted on 452 mothers with infants 6 months old and younger in 2018. Eight centers were selected from all health centers in Isfahan, Iran through cluster random sampling. The samples were lactating mothers who referred to health centers for receiving self and infant care. Data was collected using two questionnaires. The first questionnaire examined personal and fertility characteristics and lactation patterns. The second questionnaire was a self-administered structured questionnaire for cultural dimensions. Content validity index and relative content validity coefficient were respectively 0.80 and 0.70 for the cultural dimension questionnaire. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 18.0.
Results: The majority of mothers (64.4%, n=291) had exclusive breastfeeding. In the masculinity-femininity dimension, the mean score of exclusive breastfeeding pattern was higher than the non-exclusive breastfeeding (3± 0.48, 2.48±0.50) and there were significant statistical differences between exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding groups (p = 0.03). In other cultural dimensions, despite there being a difference in mean of the dimensions in exclusive breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding groups, it was not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Masculinity-femininity as a cultural dimension was associated with lactation patterns, so that mothers with greater orientation towards masculinity had higher focus on gender roles of a woman such as breastfeeding and they had greater exclusive breastfeeding. But others dimensions were not associated with lactation patterns.