Objectives: To collect data about perceptions and attitudes regarding breastfeeding in the local community and is intended as the first phase prior to the implementation of the baby friendly initiative (BFI).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the International Medical Center, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between April 2011 and June 2011, using a structured and closed-ended questionnaire.
Results: One hundred and twenty women responded (100% response rate) in the study. The most commonly cited barriers to breastfeeding in approximately one-third of women included: lack of knowledge about breastfeeding, false impressions about inadequate quantities of breast milk produced by lactating women, and ease of use and liberal availability of formula within the community after birth. Surprisingly, more educated women and those with higher income prove to have less knowledge about breastfeeding. Women who had 2 or more previous pregnancies were less confident about their ability to produce enough milk for their babies. Thirty-four percent of the respondents reported more than one deterrent to breast feeding.
Conclusion: The results of the survey will serve as a guide to correct misconceptions about breastfeeding and effectively strategize the implementation of a local BFI tailored to the characteristics of our community.