A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Perceptions and Lived Experiences of First-Time Breastfeeding Mothers
Phillips, Karen F.
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(41st Biennial Convention) Breastfeeding is the optimal and most complete form of nutrition for infants and has been associated with numerous infant and maternal health benefits (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP], 2005; World Health Organization [WHO], 2011). Breastfeeding has been linked to health promotion and disease prevention (AAP, 2005) and is considered "a global public health issue"� (McInnes & Chambers, 2008, p. 424). Despite all that is known about the benefits of breastfeeding relative to future health, a gap remains between initiation and continuation rates. Currently only 13 percent of women are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2011). The purpose of the current qualitative, phenomenological, hermeneutic study was to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of 19 first-time breastfeeding mothers of the influence of breastfeeding education, anticipatory guidance, and postpartum lactation support on breastfeeding continuation rates from birth to 6 weeks postpartum. An analysis of in-depth narrative interviews revealed 10 themes and 30 subthemes. The findings from the study assisted in the development of a model, BREASTS, designed to improve breastfeeding continuation rates. The meanings derived from the themes provide leaders, maternal child healthcare professionals, and breastfeeding women additional insights into strategies that promoted and barriers that impeded breastfeeding success. Improving breastfeeding rates is crucial given that breastfeeding contributes to disease prevention, health promotion, and saves healthcare dollars because breastfed babies are healthier overall (AAP, 2005). References American Academy of Pediatrics. (2005). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 115, 496-506. Centers for Disease Control. (2011). Breastfeeding report card-United States 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/BreastfeedingReportCard2010.pdf McInnes, R., & Chambers, J. (2008). Supporting breastfeeding mothers: Qualitative synthesis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62, 407-427. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04618.x World Health Organization. (2011). Exclusive breastfeeding. Retrieved January 30, 2011, from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/