Enablers and barriers of exclusive breastfeeding among employed women in low and lower middle-income countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: This systematic review and narrative synthesis aims to explore the specific facilitators and barriers of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) among employed mothers in low and lower middle-income countries. Methods: Primary quantitative and qualitative studies undertaken in low and lower middle-income countries published from 2003 to 2019 were included in the review. Two reviewers independently assessed each article for eligibility using standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute. Results: Seven papers were included in this review. The enabler and barrier factors to EBF are summarized into three categories including maternal factors (such as mode of delivery, number of children, knowledge and attitude on breastfeeding), social factors (such as support from husband, family and child day care), and work-related factors (such as duration of maternal leave, flexibility of work, and availability of physical facilities). Conclusion: To increase EBF among employed women, employers should support them by offering flexible working hours, a minimum of six months maternity leave and providing breastfeeding facilities. Support from family and maternal factors were important factors that could positively affect EBF. Identification of modifiable barrier and facilitator factors may contribute to successful EBF in employed women thereby reducing mortality and morbidity in countries with limited resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100514
Number of pages7
JournalSexual & Reproductive HealthCare
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Barriers
  • Breastfeeding
  • Employed women
  • Enablers
  • Exclusive

Cite this