Considerable scientific research has proven the health benefits from breastfeeding accrue to both infants and mothers. For example, breastfeeding mothers have a lower rate of breast cancer
[1, 2], ovarian cancer
[3–5], and osteoporosis
. For babies, breastfeeding has been proven to provide a protective mechanism against sudden infant death syndrome
 and chronic diseases later in life
. Furthermore, these babies have lower rates of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases
[9, 10]. In addition to the health benefits, the emotional, psychological, and societal advantages offered by breastfeeding cannot be underestimated
The prevalence of breastfeeding is increasing internationally because of the evidence of the benefits, and the declarations of the Innocenti Declaration by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund in 1990. However, the number of mothers choosing to breastfeed remains low in Taiwan. In a national study conducted in 2004, those that is breastfeeding, exclusively breastfeeding infants with only breast milk without other foods or liquids
, in Taiwan was 33.21% when the baby was one month old, 16.93% for four–month old, and 13.13% at six-month old
. Although these statistics increased substantially to 58.8%, 36.2%, and 26.3%, respectively, in 2010
, mothers in Taiwan tend to cease breastfeeding earlier than the World Health Organization’s recommendation to continue exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months
Although several studies in the nursing area
 investigated the factors affecting the continuity of breastfeeding, including family and social support
, employment status
[19, 20], types of employment
, sleep deprivation
[21, 22], and fatigue
[23, 24], none of these studies explored the relationship between breastfeeding and women’s leisure.
Leisure is essential to well-being and health
. Several studies of leisure activities confirmed that leisure is a crucial factor that influences the health of women from several aspects. For example, regarding physical health, increased leisure activity can decrease the occurrence of coronary heart diseases and stroke
, and for psychological health, participation in leisure activities can reduce stress through coping mechanisms, decreased feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression
[27–29]. Leisure is also a vital context and channel for social support and social interactions
[30, 31]. In addition, since more than 20% of mothers have experienced symptoms of postpartum depression
, leisure might be an important outlet, especially for mothers’ management of depression and enhancement of health.
Despite the health benefits of leisure activities for women, participation remains lower compared to male counterparts, according to several reports
[33, 34]. Several reasons contribute to this phenomenon, such as lack of opportunities for learning leisure skills
 or low socioeconomic status
. Traditionally, researchers of leisure activities classified three factors impeding willingness or opportunities to participate in leisure activities: intra-personal, inter-personal, and structural constraints on leisure activities. Constraints on intrapersonal activities refer to individual psychological characteristics that impede willingness to participate in leisure activities. Inter-personal constraints for participating in leisure activities are those factors involving peers or groups, such as a lack of a partner. Structural constraints are issues such as inclement weather, cost, lack of opportunity, etc.
. Women’s leisure differs considerably from that of men’s leisure, and varies in diverse life situations. While several studies investigated leisure constraints and participation in leisure activities among mothers after giving birth or those with young children, examination of specific circumstances and situations, such as experiences during breastfeeding are necessary to understand, fully, the leisure experiences and constraints for women
Several barriers may relate to participation of breastfeeding mothers during leisure activities; however, scant research has investigated the relationship between participation in leisure activities and constraints on breastfeeding mothers during leisure activities. Consequently, the objectives of this study are: a) to investigate the constraints on leisure activities and participation in leisure activities experienced by breastfeeding mothers; b) to investigate the differences between preferences for leisure activities and actual participation among breastfeeding mothers; c) to examine the differences among various demographic variables relating to participation in leisure activities, and d) to identify any patterns among breastfeeding mothers, using cluster analysis based on their participation in leisure activities and leisure preferences; e) to explore differences among clusters of breastfeeding mothers with respect to socio-demographics, breastfeeding behavioural variables and leisure constraints.