A qualitative exploratory study of breastfeeding experience

Errington, Mariam (2015) A qualitative exploratory study of breastfeeding experience. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Previous research has found that a third of women attributed their postnatal
distress to breastfeeding difficulties. Further to this, other studies have found that
women experience feelings of failure, guilt and shame when they have difficulties
feeding their infants. This research aims to add to the understanding of how women
view the impact of breastfeeding on their emotional wellbeing by exploring their lived
A qualitative methodology was utilised to conduct this research. An
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach was used to analyse data from six
participant interviews with first time mothers with experiences of breastfeeding their
Three overall superordinate themes were identified from the data that were
shared across the participants. These included “nature’s way: the maternal self”,
“expectations versus realities of breastfeeding” and “overcoming difficulties.” Within
these, nine subordinate themes were also outlined and discussed.
The overall conclusions drawn from the interpreted experiences of the
participants who took part in this study are comparable with existing research in the
field of breastfeeding experience. This includes the experience that women feel a
desire to breastfeed their babies so as to fulfil their perceptions of what it is to be a
good mother. This can be source of significant emotional distress if breastfeeding is
not possible or is difficult. There is also a perception that information provided by
health professionals around infant feeding is inadequate and mis-timed. Future
research into other factors such as healthcare policy and implementation of
information given is needed to help guide support for breastfeeding and nonbreastfeeding

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 11:27
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 11:27
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/61166


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