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“I’m glad I persevered but…”: Women’s reports of early breastfeeding experiences

Locke, Abigail and Budds, Kirsty (2011) “I’m glad I persevered but…”: Women’s reports of early breastfeeding experiences. In: Understanding the Social World Conference 2011, 13th - 15th July 2011, University of Huddersfield. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Currently the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the child is at least six months of age. Although these WHO recommendations are in place, figures around infant feeding in the UK suggest that breastfeeding rates are low with over half of babies not being breastfed by six weeks of age. As has been noted elsewhere, moral constructions of being a good mother are bound together with breastfeeding behaviour. Research has considered the actual teaching of infant feeding and tensions between initiation and adherence rates in breastfeeding have been noted. There is a stream of research that reports women’s early experiences of breastfeeding with the findings suggesting that women’s early experiences of feeding do not match their expectations of it. The data for this study is drawn from a series of interviews with women over thirty five talking about their experiences of older motherhood. The mothers were not asked about feeding but we found that the majority of the interviewees brought up the issue of breastfeeding and the unexpected difficulties that they had faced with it. Using a thematic analysis, this paper offers a discussion of the issues that are reported with breastfeeding and women’s accounts of their early feeding experiences. We find the dominant discourse of ‘breast is best’ coming through in women’s accounts of breastfeeding but also noted the difficulties and tensions in acting on this message reported by the mothers. We conclude that more realistic accounts of breastfeeding, including discussions of any potential problems and solutions, would be of benefit to women in the antenatal period.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Psychological Research
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Health and Social Care Research
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > The Institute for Health Citizenship
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Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2011 15:22
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2011 13:37
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/11151

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