Women particularly valued professionals who were supportive, non-judgemental and enabled them to make their own decisions and build upon existing support from friends and family [ 13 , 41 ]. Women also valued the opportunity to build personal relationships, emphasising the need for continuity of care in the antenatal and postnatal periods [ 25 , 33 ].
She was also a very practical midwife, so it was actually the sort of person I needed to say it quite bluntly on occasions Mother, age 31, first baby. Participants in the study came from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds with different histories of infant feeding practices. Mothers whose immediate family and friends had not breastfed themselves, or had bad experiences of breastfeeding, were sometimes unsupportive of their decision, or attempted to undermine their efforts. Other mothers found that partners, friends and family had been key in supporting them to keep going when they encountered breastfeeding issues.
No one at all. But that was what I needed to actually get it to work Mother, age 31, first baby. The results are presented under five sub-themes: seeking breastfeeding support, expert support, social support, breastfeeding role models and breastfeeding as a journey. Some of the mothers had already sought support from other services such as telephone helplines.
Whilst contact with other breastfeeding support services may sometimes have been the impetus to attend, women valued the face-to-face element of contact with a skilled breastfeeding professional [ 29 ].
You need that one to one; you need to see somebody face to face. Convenience was also a factor, with women often preferring services in a familiar location that they may be visiting for other purposes. I knew things were going on here, because I used to come and see my midwife next door. Many of the women were initially anxious about attending a group situation and unsure of what to expect. I was nervous the first time, yeah. I was feeling I had the baby too early. I just look around and there was old mothers at mature age.
I was really feeling, not maybe embarrassed, but anxious about them. However once they had made the initial effort mothers often felt that the group provided a supportive environment to increase their sense of breastfeeding self-efficacy. I was struggling for him to latch on.
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And its nice because they do remember your name, they do remember your baby, and it just feels, it feels nice Mother, 35, first baby. Expert knowledge and experience is also seen as key, with women valuing the presence of a skilled facilitator [ 30 ]. They are experts in their field and they are mums themselves, which is always, experience speaks volumes Mother, age 34, first baby. Yeah, but I was just really pleased the first day I came, I really enjoyed it and it just felt really welcoming Mother, age 33, first baby. To be honest, most of the support I get on a day to day basis is from other mums.
The social model of the service meant that women could attend regularly if they wished and created a space for the sharing of infant feeding experience. Mothers found it helpful to be around other breastfeeding women, especially those with older babies who were further on in their feeding journey.
This role modelling had a positive impact on those women who were still at the stage of getting breastfeeding established, and gaining confidence about feeding in public places;.
Before the words spill out she leaves and goes to the neighbor's house to get their children. Ronny Yu, While Barrie did not begin this tradition, he nevertheless popularized it, drawing, as Wiggins argues, on the fairy lore and Celtic tradition of his Scottish background. University of Chicago Press, California. The social fabric depicted as the background setting for the narrative signifies a malaise in the modern Korean society that has emerged from a history of bloodshed and oppression. The crisp mountain air fills her nostrils and she dreams of sinking her sharp teeth into sweet, red flesh. Journal of Consulting Psychology.
You want to see that it will get better, to speak to a mum that says its better Mother, age 30, first baby. I got really nice help from the previous peer supporter that was here. She had an older baby and when you have a younger baby, it was nice to see an older baby breastfeed successfully…Oh! She does it with such comfort, makes it seem so effortless.
It was a really nice thing to see… Mother, age 34, first baby. Such environments also played an important role in normalising the feeding of older babies, for mothers who wished to follow the guidance of complimentary breastfeeding for two years and beyond [ 20 ]. This gave them a chance to reflect upon their feeding journeys, considering what had made a difference at pivotal moments. But once you feel more confident, I think groups like this encourage you to just feed your baby in public, that kind of thing and once you know that you can go out and feed your baby then you can get your life back again Mother, age 30, first baby.
Mothers found that they had often made peace with their feeding decisions and overcome some of the early challenges. He latches on well. However breastfeeding constantly brings new challenges, for example in relation to weaning or returning to work, emphasising the importance of ongoing support [ 23 ]. Such support is necessary to enable women to meet or even extend their breastfeeding goals, and increase continuation rates in line with WHO standards [ 1 ].
The research shows that despite continued efforts to increase UK breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates, mothers still face substantial social, cultural, practical and physical barriers to successful breastfeeding [ 2 , 13 , 20 ]. Whilst policy and best practice such as the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative are steadily improving standards of care for breastfeeding mothers in UK hospitals [ 22 ], understaffing and lack of resources mean that women are not always able to access the support that they require from routine health care [ 6 ].
Prevalence of formula feeding amongst recent generations means that women may lack cultural support or practical breastfeeding expertise within their immediate social network [ 8 , 9 ]. Antenatal contacts that set unrealistic expectations of the breastfeeding relationship can leave mothers unprepared for the lived experience of the early weeks and common breastfeeding problems [ 15 , 18 ]. Motivation to breastfeed can be an important factor in accessing support services, with evidence from the Infant Feeding Survey [ 2 ] showing that whilst the majority of women received information about voluntary breastfeeding organisations, only a minority accessed them.
Conversely those women who lack initial commitment to breastfeeding or role models amongst their immediate social circles may be more likely to cease breastfeeding rather than proactively seek support. Thus such interventions ideally need to combined with alternative forms of support, including proactive contact from peer supporters in the antenatal and immediate postnatal periods [ 25 ], and additional telephone and one-to-one support where required.
Community support services need to be well integrated with local health and social care systems and promoted effectively to ensure that all women are able to access support when they need it. The limitations of the study include a risk of bias due to the researchers being employed by NCT rather than an independent evaluator.
However it is recognised that their position within the organisation may influence their perceptions of breastfeeding support. The study sample is not intended to be representative of UK mothers as a whole, but of those accessing a particular support service. While the sample is diverse in terms of ethnicity, first language and place of birth, it is biased towards older mothers and those with higher levels of education and employment. Such groups are a more likely to initiate breastfeeding, b more likely to seek out support for breastfeeding difficulties and c more likely to be willing to be involved in research interviews.
Thus findings of the research cannot be generalised to the overall population and highlight the need to attract a more diverse range of mothers to such services or find alternative means of support for mothers from less advantaged populations. World Health Organization.
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