Background: Exclusive breastfeeding is a very important principle in ensuring the health of infants. Its benefits for the infant, mother, family, and community are emphasized by all experts. The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of mothers toward exclusive breastfeeding and its related factors.
Methods: This descriptive-analytical study was performed on 420 women referred to comprehensive health service centers in Tehran. The samples were selected through multistage sampling. The data were collected by a questionnaire consisting of two sections: behavioral beliefs and evaluation of behavioral outcomes and were analyzed by t-test and ANOVA using SPSS 16.
Results: The mothers’ attitude, behavioral beliefs, and evaluation of behavioral outcomes were significantly correlated with their age, job, place of delivery, and hospitalization of their infants. The mothers’ attitudes and behavioral beliefs were also significantly correlated with their husband’s education and the status of infants (P<0.05), but their attitude, behavioral beliefs, and evaluation of behavioral outcomes were not significantly associated with the other variables (P > 0.05). The findings showed that most of the mothers' beliefs about the outcomes of exclusive breastfeeding (increased emotional bond between the mother and the infant, growth and strength of infant's bones and teeth, and infant's immunity to diseases such as diarrhea) were significant (P< 0.05).
Conclusions: When designing interventions, efforts should be made to create and maintain a positive attitude toward exclusive breastfeeding through the promotion of behavioral beliefs and evaluation of behavioral outcomes.