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Breastfeeding Research from Jordan

Posted Friday 6th August 2021

Dr Reem Hatamleh Associate Professor/ Maternal-Child Health Nursing Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology

Breastfeeding is the natural and most healthy way to feed infants. There is strong evidence to support the individual and the public health gains. Despite all recommendations by WHO and UNICEF about breastfeeding, breastfeeding rates are falling in many low and middle income countries. Jordan is no exception the rate of breastfeeding have decreased during the last few years, as demonstrated by the results of the last two Jordanian population and family health surveys. The percentage of exclusively breastfeeding mothers of infants aged six months decreased from 40% in 2007 to 20% in 2016 [2]. This decrease will significantly increase the costs on the healthcare system. Since Jordan is one of the limited-resources countries this overload on the healthcare system will negatively affect the economy.

The aim of the research was to increase attention to, investment in, and action for a set of cost-effective interventions and policies that could help policy makers

and their partners in improving exclusive breastfeeding rates among infants less than six months.

Although, breastfeeding is encouraged, accepted and widely practised in the Jordanian culture, reasons for this decrease in breastfeeding rates are multifactorial. Factors reported in Jordanian studies were socio-demographics, lack of knowledge, inadequate support from health professionals [5-6]. Although many Jordanian maternity facilities are baby-friendly hospitals. However, women were not helped in the initiation of breast feeding and there was a lack of adequate skilled support in hospital setting. In addition, there was aggressive promotion of infant formula, milk powder and other breast-milk substitutes in hospital setting [1].

Other reasons reported by university students were related to psychological characteristics such as attitudes, intentions and previous exposure [4-5] women's concerns about their body shape [3], breastfeeding was embarrassing in public and it restricts the mother’s freedom [4].

Understanding these factors could assist in increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding when effective policy and regulatory frameworks and guidelines are activated and when breastfeeding promotion programs are implemented at national level. Jordanian policy-makers should consider prioritizing the proposed actions by the WHO to meet the fifth target, in order to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life up to 50%.

It is a shared responsibility to bring about improvements in practice to ensure that all women have access to knowledge and support in Jordan as in other countries around the world. Organizational support is necessary to provide health professionals with time and resources to access research data that can lead to improvement. Furthermore, education and training needs for improvement.


1. Abuhammad S, Johnson T. (2018) Potential impact of breastfeeding and maternal sensitivity during the first year of life: an integrative review of the literature. International Journal of Pediatrics 23(10): 8655-67.

2. Jordanian Department of Statistics. (2017) Jordan population and family health survey. Ministry of Health, Amman, Jordan.

3. Al-Ali N, Hatamleh R, Khader Y. (2013) Female public Jordanian university undergraduate students’ intentions and attitudes toward breastfeeding: Application of self-objectification theory. Breastfeeding Review 21(3): 31.

4. Hatamleh R, Maghaydah SS, Abuhammad S, Rababah H. (2018) Knowledge, attitudes and future intentions toward breastfeeding among undergraduate students at a Jordanian public university. Evidence Based Midwifery 16(4): 136-142.

5. Khasawneh W. (2017). Breastfeeding practices, facilitators and barriers among immigrant Muslim Arab women living in a metropolitan area of the southwest of United States. Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University.

6. Hamadneh S, Kassab M, Abu-hammad S, Al-bayyari N, Hamadneh J, Obeidat N, Saqan R. (2018) Common factors associated with child deaths at a tertiary care centre in Irbid Government, Jordan. International Journal of Pediatrics 6(8): 8021-803.

7. Shaban, I; Hatamleh,R, Kresheh, R; Homer, C (2011). Childbirth practices in Jordanian public hospitals consistency with evidence-based maternity care? Int J Evid Based Healthc 2011; 9: 25–31