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Title: A qualitative exploratory study of breastfeeding experience
Author: Errington, Mariam
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 2682
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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Background 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 experiences. Method 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 infant. Results 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. Conclusions 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 mothers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available