Background: Breast milk is an ideal source of nutrition for growth and development of infants and has unique physiologic and emotional impacts on the health of mothers and infants. However, a few numbers of infants get exclusive breast milk and therefore, it is necessary to identify barriers to breastfeeding. The purpose of the present qualitative research was to explore challenges and barriers to breastfeeding promotion.
Materials and Methods: Fourteen nursing mothers, four key family members (grandmothers and husbands) and six personnel who provided breastfeeding counseling services participated in semi-structured individual interviews. Interviews were recorded and transcribed and then analyzed by means of conventional content analysis method.
Results: Three main categories "incompetency of breastfeeding services", "mother’s inadequate breastfeeding self-efficacy" and "family’s neglect to breast milk" were emerged; that reflected participants’ experiences of barriers to breastfeeding promotion.
Conclusion: Participants believed that the healthcare system had the greatest portion in breastfeeding promotion and inadequate performance of baby friendly hospital, failure of prenatal centers in teaching skills to mothers and families, and inadequate support for mother after delivery had caused breastfeeding damage. They also stated that mother’s breastfeeding self-efficacy and family’s help and support of breastfeeding had a significant role in breastfeeding promotion. To overcome the barriers to breastfeeding promotion, it is suggested that besides reforming existing plans according to identified barriers in this research, supportive and educational programs should be provided for all individuals involved in breastfeeding including mothers, families and health workers.