The Little Things: Perceptions of Breastfeeding Support

Authors

  • Sara L. Gill RN, PhD, IBCLC

    Corresponding author
    1. Sara L. Gill is an assistant professor, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, School of Nursing.
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Address for correspondence: Sara L. Gill, RN, PhD, ZBCLC, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, School of Nursing, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-7951. E-mail: gills@uthscsa.edu.

Abstract

Objective:

To describe how maternal-child staff nurses support breastfeeding mothers during the postpartum hospital stay and how these mothers perceive the support received from the nurses.

Design:

Ethnographic.

Setting:

Data were collected at a community hospital in southeastern Florida.

Participants:

Unstructured interviews were conducted with seven maternal-child nurses caring for breastfeeding mothers. The investigator observed 12 nurses' interactions with breastfeeding mothers and newborns. Eight breastfeeding mothers were interviewed, using a semi structured guide, in the hospital before discharge and at 2 and 6 weeks postpartum.

Results:

Nurses supported breastfeeding mothers by providing information and interpersonal support. Breastfeeding mothers expected the nurses to support their feeding efforts by providing information, encouragement, and interpersonal support.

Conclusion:

Health care providers can help breastfeeding mothers, but the support offered must be the kind that mothers want.

Ancillary