A qualitative study of infant feeding decisions among low-income women in the Republic of Ireland.Midwifery. 2013 May; 29(5):453-60.M
to explore infant feeding decisions among low-income women living in Ireland to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors, which influence breast feeding initiation and continuation.
a descriptive qualitative study using focus groups and semi-structured interviews.
community and primary health-care settings in the Republic of Ireland.
a convenience sample of 33 low-income mothers was recruited from 2 community programmes and 3 primary health-care centres.
six dominant themes were identified using Thematic Analysis. Prior knowledge of infant feeding, especially from experiences of seeing breast- and artificial milk-feeding in the family and the community, influenced feeding choice. Embarrassment and stigma about breast feeding in public places and in some cases in the private sphere were commonly described as barriers to breast feeding. The decision to bottle feed often reflected a balancing of the needs of the mother and the baby, because breast feeding was often perceived as inconvenient and requiring extreme determination. Breast feeding difficulties in the early weeks were frequently described and those who stopped breast feeding early often lacked practical knowledge and experienced support. In terms of health professional support, the mothers favoured a non-pressurised approach along with practical help with breast feeding.
KEY CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
there is a need for promotional efforts to normalise breast feeding and for training of health professionals in the provision of appropriate support.