Author(s): Dietrich Leurer M, Misskey E
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Early breastfeeding cessation is common in many regions of the world despite high breastfeeding initiation rates and strong evidence of the health benefits to both mother and infant. This research investigated mothers' perceived breastfeeding information needs in order to increase our understanding of this phenomenon. METHODS: Surveys were distributed by public health nurses in a health region in Western Canada to mothers who had initiated breastfeeding and whose infants were six to eleven months old to learn more about their infant feeding experiences during the birth to six month period. Two open-ended survey questions asked: (1) What support or advice did you receive that helped you with feeding your baby?" and (2) "What support or information on feeding your baby would you have found helpful but did not receive?" A total of 191 eligible mothers submitted a survey (response rate 35\%) between January and October 2012. Qualitative description was used in analyzing the responses of the women who provided comments for the open-ended questions. RESULTS: While many mothers felt their information needs were met, others outlined important content areas where more information and guidance was desired. These areas included milk supply management, frequency/duration of feeds, proper latch and feeding positions, nipple care, expression/pumping, other nutrition sources, and realistic information regarding common breastfeeding concerns. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that several of the information gaps highlighted by respondents in this study closely align with commonly cited reasons for breastfeeding cessation including perceived insufficient milk supply, latching difficulties and nipple discomfort. The findings emphasize the need for lactation support with systematic measures to ensure breastfeeding mothers are universally provided with information on these key content areas. Lactation supports should reinforce critical information and seek feedback to ascertain that mothers have clearly understood the information provided. Ensuring mothers receive and understand key breastfeeding information is a modifiable factor in efforts to increase breastfeeding duration rates.
This article was published in Int Breastfeed J
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access