The aim of the study was to explore the practice and attitudes of Saudi mothers towards breastfeeding. A cross-sectional survey done on a total of 517 Saudi mothers using a questionnaire inquiring about their demographic data, breastfeeding practice in the first 6 months after delivery and longer, different reasons for stopping breastfeeding. Furthermore, their impression on the relation between breastfeeding and breast cancer as well as prevention of infant's allergic and infectious diseases. Only 37.5% of the mothers practiced exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. 31.9% of the mothers continued breastfeeding until 9-12 months, and only 23% continued until 18-24 months. Insufficient breast milk was the commonest reason for stopping breastfeeding (25.9%). The vast majority of the mothers (95.2%) believe that breast milk can prevent allergy and infection to their infants, and 88.4% agreed that breastfeeding may decrease the risk of breast cancer. 30% of mothers with higher income and higher socio-economic class tend to have less compliance with breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months lag far behind the WHO recommendation. There is a major problem with adequacy of breast milk production in the majority of mothers in this study which might indicate the need for proper awareness and teaching programs regarding breastfeeding in our community.
Breastfeeding; Exclusive breastfeeding; Prolonged breastfeeding; Saudi mothers