AIM: To explore community views on the feasibility of exclusive breastfeeding in Vietnam. METHODS: A total of 118 interviews were conducted with mothers, grandmothers, fathers, health workers and 'oldest women' in rural and urban areas in the north and south of Vietnam. Special issues were further examined through 12 'strategic interviews'. FINDINGS: Exclusive breastfeeding was rare because it was poorly understood and little appreciated, by health professionals as well as lay persons, as the best way to feed an infant during the first 6 months. Early fluid supplementation was the rule and most infants received water and milk in addition to breast milk. While a majority of the women worked, they had found ways to manage their work so that it did not need to interfere with exclusive breastfeeding. Family members expressed a readiness to support exclusive breastfeeding when it was explained to them.