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Midwifery. 2004 Sep;20(3):251-60.

Breast-feeding difficulties experienced by women taking part in a qualitative interview study of postnatal depression.

Author information

1
Summertown Health Centre, 160 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7BS, UK. judy@shake-speare.demon.co.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

to explore how women experience breast-feeding difficulties. This theme emerged unexpectedly during a study of women's experiences of screening with the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS) and subsequent care from primary health-care professionals.

DESIGN:

qualitative in-depth interview study.

SETTING:

postnatal women of 22 general practices within Oxford City Primary Care Group area.

PARTICIPANTS:

39 postnatal women from a purposeful sample were interviewed at an average of 15 months postnatal. They were chosen from different general practices and with a range of emotional difficulties after birth, judged using EPDS results at eight weeks and eight months postnatal, and whether they received 'listening visits' from health visitors.

MEASUREMENTS AND FINDINGS:

a qualitative thematic analysis was used, including searches for anticipated and emergent themes. Fifteen women had breast-feeding difficulties. Five themes emerged which explore the difficulties. Firstly, commitment to breast feeding and high expectations of success; secondly, unexpected difficulties; thirdly, seeking professional support for difficulties; fourthly, finding a way to cope; and fifthly, guilt.

KEY CONCLUSIONS:

in this study breast-feeding difficulties were common, caused emotional distress and interactions with professionals could be difficult. Current breast-feeding policy, such as the 'Baby Friendly Initiative', may be a contributing factor. This needs to be explored in a further study.

PMID:
15337281
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2003.12.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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