Are nurses able to exclusively breastfeed their babies? A mixed methods study of conduciveness of the work environment of nurses to practice exclusive breastfeeding


  • Failatu Yahaya Iddi
  • Shamsu-Deen Ziblim
  • Victor Mogre


One of the factors that may influence the practice of EBF for working mothers is the conduciveness of thework environment. We investigated the conduciveness of the work environment for the practice of EBFamong nurses with babies in the Tamale Metropolis. A questionnaire was administered to 130 nurses in fiveselected health facilities in the Tamale Metropolis. Also, focus group discussions were employed to explorenurses’ perceptions concerning EBF at the workplace. About 66.0% of nurses exclusively breastfed theirinfants. Among nurses who did not exclusively breastfeed, 48.4% said their nature of work prevented them;22.6% long distance between work and home and the rest blamed short maternity leave. Eighty-one percentwere not allowed to bring their children to the workplace; 86.3% said the workplace had no breastfeedingrooms; and 46.0% said they were not given time to go breastfeed. In the qualitative data, lack of maternityleave, traditions and uncooperative superiors were some of the barriers to EBF. The practice of EBF wasrelatively high but below the WHO optimal breastfeeding rate of 90.0%. The length of maternity leave,breastfeeding rooms and breastfeeding friendly staff could play an important role in promoting EBF amongnurses with babies.