Trade-offs underlying maternal breastfeeding decisions: a conceptual model

Authors

  • Kristin P. Tully,

    Corresponding author
    1. Carolina Consortium on Human Development, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    2. Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
    3. Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Laboratory, Queen's Campus, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Helen L. Ball

    1. Department of Anthropology, Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University, Durham, UK
    2. Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Laboratory, Queen's Campus, Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Kristin P. Tully, Center for Developmental Science, 100 East Franklin Street, Suite 200, Campus Box 8115, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. E-mail: kristin.tully@duke.edu

Abstract

This paper presents a new conceptual model that generates predictions about breastfeeding decisions and identifies interactions that affect outcomes. We offer a contextual approach to infant feeding that models multi-directional influences by expanding on the evolutionary parent–offspring conflict and situation-specific breastfeeding theories. The main hypothesis generated from our framework suggests that simultaneously addressing breastfeeding costs and benefits, in relation to how they are interpreted by mothers, will be most effective. Our approach focuses on contributors to the attitudes and commitment underlying breastfeeding outcomes, beginning in the prenatal period. We conclude that some maternal–offspring conflict is inherent with the dynamic infant feeding relationship. Guidance that anticipates and addresses family trade-offs over time can be incorporated into breastfeeding support for families.

Ancillary