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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2019, Article ID 8651010, 7 pages
Research Article

Facilitators and Barriers to Breastfeeding and Exclusive Breastfeeding in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania: A Qualitative Study

1Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
2Better Health for African Mother and Child, P.O. Box 8418 Moshi, Tanzania
3Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway
4Division of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway
5Norwegian National Advisory Unit for Women’s Health, Oslo, Norway
6Institute of Public Health, Department of Community Health, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, P.O. Box 2240, Moshi, Tanzania
7Institute of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, P.O. Box 2240, Moshi, Tanzania

Correspondence should be addressed to Melina Mgongo; moc.oohay@ynnebannil

Received 15 November 2018; Accepted 9 January 2019; Published 3 February 2019

Academic Editor: Lavjay Butani

Copyright © 2019 Melina Mgongo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Breastfeeding is the best way to feed infants. It is a simple intervention to improve child health and development. Despite its advantages, there is a low global rate of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and, in Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania, EBF is rarely practiced. The aim of this paper is to explore social and cultural factors that might influence the practice of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding in Kilimanjaro region. Methods. A qualitative design was used. Three districts in Kilimanjaro region, namely, Same, Moshi Municipal Council, and Rombo, were selected. In each district three focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with mothers with infants aged 0-12 months. Results. A total of 78 mothers participated in the focus group discussions. A majority of the mothers were positive towards breastfeeding. They believed that it prevents child sickness, creates happiness, and is good for family economy. Despite the positive attitudes, the mothers revealed many perceptions that interfered with breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding. These included the following: breast milk is very light and has bad odor, breastfeeding may affect mothers appearance, chango (abdominal pain) has to be treated, there is fear of the evil eye when breastfeeding in public places, breast milk may become unclean, and there is a need of pauses in breastfeeding after the child has burped on the breast. Conclusion. There are beliefs that promote the practice of breastfeeding in this setting; these local beliefs could be used to develop breastfeeding messages to improve breastfeeding practices. However, there is also a need to address beliefs that interfere with the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in this setting.