The Little Things: Perceptions of Breastfeeding Support


  • 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.
    Search for more papers by this author

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:



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.




Data were collected at a community hospital in southeastern Florida.


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.


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.


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