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Breastfeeding provides the ideal nutrition in infancy, and its benefits extend to the health of mothers. Psychosocial factors such as the intention to breastfeed, self-efficacy, or maternal confidence to breastfeed have been shown to impact breastfeeding outcomes in other communities. The aim of this study was to assess the potential associations between mothers’ prenatal intention to breastfeed and post-delivery breastfeeding practices. A cross-sectional study was conducted from March to September 2017. Emirati and non-Emirati mothers with children below the age of 2 were recruited from maternal and child health centers in various geographical areas in Abu Dhabi Capital district, United Arab Emirates. The variables (mothers’ intention to breastfeed, breastfeeding knowledge, support from family and health care professionals, and initiation and duration of breastfeeding) were collected by research assistants during an in-person interview, using a structured questionnaire. A total of 1799 mothers participated in this study. Mothers’ prenatal intention to breastfeed was significantly associated with breastfeeding initiation (p < 0.001) and length of exclusive breastfeeding (p = 0.006). Furthermore, intention to breastfeed during early pregnancy showed a strong association (p < 0.001) with mothers who had exclusively breast fed for more than three months. In addition, knowledge on the benefits of breastfeeding and getting support from relatives and non-relatives demonstrated significant relationship with a longer period of exclusive breastfeeding (p < 0.01) In total, mothers in the study reported receiving almost four thousand advice about breastfeeding, of which 3869 (97%) were encouraging to our others in the study. Our findings on prenatal intentions, knowledge and network support on exclusive breastfeeding indicates the importance of including breastfeeding knowledge and support as critical topics during prenatal education, not only to the mothers but also to close network members who seek a healthy pregnancy outcome.








Medicine and Health Sciences


Breastfeeding intention, Breastfeeding practices, Duration, Knowledge, Support, United Arab Emirates

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series