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Title: Exploring the emotional impact of breastfeeding difficulties in the context of continued breastfeeding
Author: Hacking, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 4718
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is evidenced to be the best preventative intervention for supporting child health outcomes worldwide (Global breastfeeding collective, 2017). The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend six-months of EBF (WHO, 2011) to reduce infant mortality and protect against diseases for both mother and baby (Victora et al., 2016). Despite the known physical health outcomes, exclusive breastfeeding rates remain low; only 40% of infants were exclusively breastfed up to six-months worldwide (Global breastfeeding collective, 2017) and EBF rates in the UK were below one-per-cent (McAndrew, Thompson, Fellows, Large, Speed & Renfrew, 2012). It has been theorised that breastfeeding also has a positive association with the development of the bi-directional mother-infant relationship (Leung & Sauve, 2005; Scharfe, 2012). However, a review by Jansen, de Weerth and RiksenWalraven (2008) concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support this link. The first paper within this thesis, a systematic review of the literature, aimed to extend the work of Jansen et al., (2008) by using a detailed search strategy and including the important concept of maternal sensitivity. This paper explores the relationship between breastfeeding duration and three aspects of the mother-infant relationship, namely infant-attachment, maternal-bond, and maternal sensitivity. Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, many women experience breastfeeding difficulties, which have been named as a factor in breastfeeding cessation, and the experience of postnatal distress (Gerd, Bergman, Dahlgren, Roswall & Alm, 2012; Staehelin, Kurth, Schindler, Schmid & Stutz, 2013). Research has shown that women who initiated EBF before moving to formula feeding were at greater risk of experiencing guilt (Fallon, Komninou, Bennett, Halford & Harrold, 2017) and feelings of failure (Lee, 2007). However, the emotional impact of breastfeeding difficulties on women who continue to breastfeed is not known. The second paper within this thesis is a qualitative study which aimed to explore the experiences of eight women who had breastfeeding difficulties whilst continuing to breastfeed. This utilised Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to provide a detailed account of their experiences, and to understand the factors which enabled them to continue.
Supervisor: Slade, Pauline ; Fallon, Victoria ; Harrold, Jo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral