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J Nurse Midwifery. 1990 Jan-Feb;35(1):35-41.

Long-term breastfeeding. The secret bond.

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University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville.


More and more women are choosing to breastfeed their infants, and some women choose to breastfeed for several years. The purpose of this qualitative research was to explore and describe the feelings, concerns, conflicts, and relations of 12 women who breastfed their infants for more than one year. Data collection involved semistructured, in-depth interviews; data analysis was by the grounded-theory method. "Synchronization" and "reorientation" were revealed by data analysis to be key processes that explained the mothers' feelings and behaviors. Synchronization is a process in which the mother moves in pace with her child. Reorientation is a process in which the mother rearranges her lifestyle to focus on the child and his or her needs. As these two processes evolve, the mother develops a secret bond with her child to limit intrusion into their relationship. Phases of these processes are presented. This research will help health-care personnel to have a better understanding of the mothers' needs, beliefs, and priorities.

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