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Relationship between social support and breastfeeding self-efficacy among women in Tabriz, Iran

02 February 2017
13 min read
Volume 25 · Issue 2

Abstract

Background

Breastfeeding self-efficacy depends on various psychological, physiological, and social factors.

Aims

This study aimed to determine the relationship between social support and breastfeeding self-efficacy in women referred to health centers in Tabriz, Iran, during 2015.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out on 220 breastfeeding mothers with infants aged 4–6 months. Data were collected using social support (PRQ-85) and breastfeeding self-efficacy questionnaires. The general linear model was applied to control for confounding variables and determine the relationship between social support and breastfeeding self-efficacy.

Findings

The mean (standard deviation (SD)) breastfeeding self-efficacy was 138.7 (11.9) of a range of 33–165, about 90% of women had high breastfeeding self-efficacy. The mean (SD) social support score was 141.2 (19.6) of a range of 25–175. Social support was one of the predictors of breastfeeding self-efficacy (P = 0.004), after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics.

Conclusions

The women in this study had relatively high breastfeeding self-efficacy. Breastfeeding can be promoted by sensitising families and society to support women.

Breast milk not only protects the baby from infections and diseases, but it is also thought to predispose a person to good health over his/her lifetime (Varaei et al, 2009). There is a wealth of evidence on the short- and long-term benefits of breastfeeding on both the woman's and infant's health (Lucas et al, 1990; Singhal et al, 2001; Sadauskaite-Kuehne et al, 2004; Pollard and Guill, 2009). Breastfeeding is also known to help strengthen the mother–infant bond and is a cost-effective and practical strategy to reduce infant mortality (Jacdonmi et al, 2016). Despite the support of national and international organisations in promoting breastfeeding, there are a number of factors that can affect the success of breastfeeding and reduce women's self-efficacy (O'Brien et al, 2008; Saied et al, 2013):

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