Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: A Local Support Group Perspective
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Session presented on Thursday, July 24, 2014: Purpose: Encouraging breastfeeding is a primary health promotion strategy. Breast-feeding policy helps mothers to extend breastfeeding up to 6 months by local breastfeeding support groups. Through breastfeeding support groups, mothers can continue get information from other experienced mothers and professional health nurses after discharging. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore mother experiences of breastfeeding from women who have breastfed a child in Taiwan's rural area. Methods: Women were recruited during as peer-support volunteers in Minsyong Township Healthy station, Chiayi County, Taiwan between April 2012 and September 2012. A hermeneutic approach was used in this qualitative study. Sixteen women participated in the five sessions of support group for breastfeeding women. In the semi-structured interviews, participants discussed their experiences of breastfeeding. Data was gathered through group discussions with interviewees' permission. After verbatim transcription, field notes, and individual and discussion group interviews with health nurses. The text was analyzed to identify themes of meaning and interpretation of the explored phenomenon. Results: A promising intervention is the complementation of professional services with peer support from a mother experienced in breastfeeding. In the support group, we find three themes were identified: (1) breastfeeding to promote infant health, (2) acceptance to endure suffer and fatigue, (3) producing energy: gaining strength through sharing, nursing professional teaching, comfort stage with her own body. Conclusion: Health nursing professionals considered maternal experience of breastfeeding and how they face their roles, provided practical and emotional supports, avoided giving conflicting advice, and acknowledged the importance of the support group. In Local support group, health care nurses not only listened and cared, but also provided the relevant information to the mother, and considered how well it meets women's needs. Each mother enriched our discussion and understood by sharing her experience as well. Maternal wants to be listened to and encouraged without feeling pressurized. The findings showed that group participants could get the breastfeeding support not only from health professionals nurse, but also other mothers. They are becoming the mother support networks in the community.