Introduction: The overall rate of exclusive breastfeeding for infants under six months of age is only 41%. Many factors are known to contribute to unsuccessful exclusive breastfeeding, including maternal age. Adolescent mothers are associated with the incidence of early marriage. Currently, there has been an estimated number of early marriages of around 650 million in the world. This study aimed to explore the exclusive breastfeeding behavior of early marriage mothers.
Methods: This is a qualitative study with a phenomenological approach. The data were collected through one-to-one interviews with seven adolescent mothers with babies aged 6-9 months as the research participants. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, translated and thematically analyzed using NVivo 12 trial version software.
Results: This study found that the breastfeeding behavior of adolescent mothers can be grouped into 5 themes: perspectives and attitudes about exclusive breastfeeding, initial response of breastfeeding, knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding, challenges and difficulties in breastfeeding and the strategies to deal with these challenges, failure of exclusive breastfeeding. The results of this study also showed that of the seven participants, only one adolescent mother succeeded in her exclusive breastfeeding.
Conclusions: Most of adolescent mothers with an early marriage who participated in this study had an unsuccessful exclusive breastfeeding of their babies. Therefore, it is necessary to have a comprehensive and sustainable education and counseling program on exclusive breastfeeding for adolescent mothers of early marriages by also considering the family involvement, particularly the husband and parents of these adolescent mothers.