Gaps between Breastfeeding Awareness and Practices in Vietnamese Mothers Result from Inadequate Support in Health Facilities and Social Norms uri icon


  • Background: Although gaps between breastfeeding awareness and practices have been described, determinants of the gaps have not been well investigated.
  • Conclusion: Reducing breastfeeding awareness-practice gaps requires strengthening breastfeeding support in health facilities and the sociocultural environment to make desired practices normative.
  • Methods: We interviewed 10,834 mothers with children aged 0-23 mo in 11 of 63 Vietnam provinces about breastfeeding practices, awareness, barriers, and support. A gap between awareness and practice was defined when a mother was aware of the benefit but did not perform the corresponding practice. Logistic regression models were used to examine determinants associated with the gaps.
  • Objective: The aim of this study was to examine determinants of the gap between breastfeeding awareness and practices in Vietnam.
  • Results: The percentages of mothers with an awareness-practice gap for early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), continued breastfeeding at 1 y, and continued breastfeeding at 2 y were 34%, 66%, 19%, and 49%, respectively. Mothers had a lower awareness-practice gap in early initiation of breastfeeding if they received breastfeeding support from a health worker during pregnancy (OR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.92) or at birth (OR: 0.73; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.88). This gap was more likely to occur among those with a natural birth in the hospital (OR: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.50, 2.45), cesarean delivery (OR: 28.95; 95% CI: 20.1, 44.7), and breastfeeding difficulties (OR: 1.52; 95% CI: 1.21, 1.90). For EBF, the gap was lower among mothers with a higher social norm (OR: 0.20; 95% CI: 0.15, 0.27) or when they received breastfeeding support at birth by a health worker (OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.95). In addition, intention of feeding infant formula at birth and having breastfeeding difficulties were associated with an increased gap in EBF [ORs (95% CIs): 1.28 (1.08, 1.51) and 1.29 (1.06, 1.57), respectively]. For continued breastfeeding at 1 y, social norms were associated with a lower gap (OR: 0.61; 95% CI: 0.41, 0.91), whereas breastfeeding difficulties were associated with an increased gap (OR: 1.70; 95% CI: 1.12, 2.57).

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014