The positive effect of breastfeeding on the health of the mother, child and community has been globally accepted, but the rate of breastfeeding is still not at an acceptable level. Breastfeeding support can greatly influence the continuity and success of breastfeeding. This qualitative study aimed to explain the Iranian women’s experiences of breastfeeding support.
Materials and Methods
This study was designed as a qualitative content analysis. The participants were selected purposefully, and 33 semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 mothers with breastfeeding experience, 5 key family members (3 grandmothers and 2 husbands) and 10 providers of breastfeeding services. Data were analyzed by using five-step method of Hsieh and Shannon content analysis, simultaneously with data collection.
The results of the analysis of the participants’ description and experiences revealed four major categories: spousal support for breastfeeding, family support for breastfeeding, health professionals’ support for breastfeeding and community support for breastfeeding, which indicated the dimensions of breastfeeding support.
In participants’ experiences, spousal support and family support for breastfeeding had key role in the success of breastfeeding and made the mothers more encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding. Further, the participants attributed the success of breastfeeding to receiving adequate knowledge and skill for breastfeeding from the healthcare system. From their perspective, community support for breastfeeding, especially among the working women played a pivotal role in the continuity of breastfeeding.