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Exclusive Breastfeeding Duration to Six Months: A Literature Review of Factors and Barriers from 2010 to 2020

Thafar S. Al-Safar, Reem H. Khamis, Sabah R. H. Ahmed


Background: In the form of mothers’ talent, the most imperative food for infants is human milk. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by World Health Organization during the first six months of life with well-established benefits to the mother and child.

Aim: The aim of this study was to develop a midwifery and physician as health care-givers to prolong breastfeeding.

Methods: Studies published between 2010 and 2020 were reviewed. An online literature search was carried out between January and July 2020; articles were gathered from Maternity and Infant Care, PsychINFO, CINAHL, Medline, PubMed, Google and Cochrane Database of systematic reviews as well as from references in published research and reviews. The search plan included the following keywords: breastfeeding, exclusive, initiation, factors, preterm, kangaroo care, education, partner, intention, social support, confidence, self-efficacy and extending the duration of paid maternity leave.

Results: Adjustable factors and barriers that influence women’s exclusive breastfeeding duration to six months are breastfeeding intention, breastfeeding self-efficacy, maternal age, maternal occupation, parent's educational level, social-economic status, insufficient milk supply, infant health problems, preterm baby, parity, mode of delivery and other related factors.

Conclusion: Based on the currently available information, there are many adjustable factors and barriers that are associated with exclusive breastfeeding duration to six months such as the woman’s breast feeding intention, breast feeding self-efficacy and social support.

Recommendations: Enlightenment campaign about exclusive breastfeeding benefits should be done to pregnant women. Breastfeeding counseling from midwives and health care givers to pregnant women during antenatal care should be centered on solving problems associated with BF.

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Exclusive breastfeeding, barriers, factors, social support and extending the duration of paid maternity leave

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