Background: Improving breastfeeding support to mothers has been the focus of several national and international health organisations. There is evidence that theoretical and clinical education improves breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes among nursing and other health professional students prior to clinical placement, to support women who are breastfeeding. Aims and objectives: To explore the expectations and experiences of Taiwanese nursing students in supporting breastfeeding on clinical placement. To gain additional insight into student experience, we also sought the perspectives of mothers, nursing staff and teachers about the role of nursing students in supporting breastfeeding mothers. Design: A qualitative descriptive approach guided this study. Methods: Focus groups and small group interviews were conducted with four participant groups in southern Taiwan. Ethical approval was obtained prior to data collection. The consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research checklist was used. Findings: Three main themes emerged from the data that captured the nursing students��� experiences during clinical practice, which were ���High expectations���; ���The reality is different���; and ���Improving confidence in students.��� The study found that students lacked confidence in supporting breastfeeding in the clinical setting. Students were expected to support women to achieve their breastfeeding goals under the supervision. The students highlighted the importance of establishing trust to effectively support mothers, and for the students to feel confident to provide the breastfeeding information. Conclusions: Despite structured theoretical breastfeeding education prior to clinical placement, students did not feel they were adequately prepared to support women who are breastfeeding during their clinical placement. The findings demonstrated the need for further support in developing effective communication skills and building confidence prior to clinical placement. Relevance to clinical practice: Enhancing the content of theoretical and simulated breastfeeding education to incorporate women's breastfeeding experience combined with realistic clinical student allocation could serve to improve students��� confidence in supporting breastfeeding.