An Integrative Literature Review on Factors Affecting Breastfeeding in Public Spaces

Madimetja Nyaloko1, *, Welma Lubbe1, Karin Minnie1, 2
1 NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
2 School of Nursing, University of the Western Cape

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Nyaloko et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the NuMIQ Research Focus Area, School of Nursing, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa; Tel: +27 72 07 1461; E-mail:



Breastfeeding in public spaces remains a challenge for mothers globally. This review aims to synthesise the available published evidence to understand factors that affect breastfeeding in public spaces globally.


The current review was conducted using a systematic review methodology guided by Whittemore and Knafl's integrative literature review steps. The relevant studies were digitally searched on EBSCOhost, Google Scholar, and PubMed databases. The review included literature from 2013 to 2018 to ascertain the factors affecting breastfeeding in public spaces. The screening concerned three rounds, including studying topics, abstract scrutinising, and ultimately checking content. Included studies were critically appraised by two reviewers using the Critical Appraisal Skill Programme checklist. Data were pooled from included studies using a matrix. Finally, the data were synthesised and analysed to identify new themes relevant to the review topic.


There were 224 studies retrieved that discussed breastfeeding. However, only six research studies met the inclusion requirements and were subjected to the review procedure. The included studies were reviewed and integrated into four themes: lack of support, sexualisation of breasts, media, and culture.


The findings indicated that mothers are unsupported to breastfeed in public spaces, posing a barrier to exclusive breastfeeding. Therefore, the main focus should be on educating community members regarding the advantages of breastfeeding to support, encourage, and promote breastfeeding whenever and wherever inclusive of public spaces.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Factors, Public spaces, Community members, Infants, Mothers.