Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years or more is a desirable approach for infant’s nutrition. A mother's breastfeeding empowerment is considered an important factor in promoting breastfeeding and identifying its facilitating factors can contribute to the development of effective policies and intervention. This study with a qualitative approach carried out aiming to exploring the facilitators for women’s empowerment in breastfeeding.
Material and Methods
This study conducted by content analysis method. Thirty-four semi-structured individual interviews with 20 mothers having breastfeeding experience, 4 key family members, and 10 personnel involved in breastfeeding services were carried out. Data analysis was simultaneously performed with data collection.
Three main categories of "Health system factors", "Family and personal factors" and "Social and cultural factors" were extracted from the participants' explanations, indicating the dimensions of facilitators for empowering women in breastfeeding.
Participants regarded the acquisition of breastfeeding skills in hospitals and breastfeeding counseling in health centers as important factors in facilitating their empowerment to early initiation of breastfeeding and its continuity. Further analysis showed "a mother's decision to breastfeed" along with her understanding of "positive attitude and her husband and family's participation in breastfeeding" boosts the breastfeeding ability and the support of the community through "positive cultural belief in breastfeeding" and" public education and information" provides an appropriate ground for the continuity of breastfeeding. In order to improve breastfeeding, a comprehensive planning with regard to women's empowerment in breastfeeding should be considered.