to explore the pattern and experiences of breast-feeding practices among diabetic women.
retrospective cohort study using maternal records and postal questionnaires in a Baby-Friendly hospital.
diabetic mothers including women with gestational diabetes, and type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus.
from the total group of respondents, 81.9% intended to breast feed. The actual breast feeding rates were 81.9% at birth, 68.1% at 2 weeks and 28.7% at 6 months postpartum. Major themes that were identified from women's experiences included information and advice, support vs. pressure, classification and labelling, and expectations.
more than two-thirds of the diabetic women intended to breast feed and actually did breast feed in this study. For both the total study population and the type 1 and 2 diabetics alone, more than half were still breast feeding at 2 weeks postpartum, and approximately one-third were still breast feeding at 6 months postpartum.
structured support, provided for women through Baby-Friendly initiatives, was appreciated by the diabetic women in this study. The extent to which this support influenced the highly successful breast feeding practices in this group of women needs focused investigation. The need for a delicate balancing act between pressure and advice in order to prevent coercion was noted.