Background As stated by the WHO, exclusive breastfeeding is unequalled for healthy growth and development in young infants. In this study; we attempted to address the attitude of females in Saudi population toward awareness and knowledge of breastfeeding.
Method An observational cross-sectional survey distributed participants who were interviewed at shopping malls in the city of Riyadh. The survey addressed socio-demographic data and attitude of eligible females toward breastfeeding exploring the benefits and reasons limiting breastfeeding practice among the population.
Results A total of 332 females were enrolled in this study. Most of the interviewed participants were Saudi, married, and had more than one child. 86% of interviewed participants believed the best way to start feeding the newborn are solely breastfeeding. 41% attended breast feeding health education. Availability of formula, cosmetic, short maternity leave from job and lack of awareness were factors believed to limit breast feeding. Mother’s education, parity, and age significantly correlated with the belief that exclusive breast feeding is the best start for the newborn.
Conclusion Females in Saudi Arabia are well aware that breast feeding is the best start for the newborn. Practical steps such as intensive education, support at postnatal period and longer maternity leave are required to improve rates of exclusive breast feeding in the country.