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A qualitative study on the breastfeeding experience of mothers of preterm infants in the first 12 months after birth
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing. Center for Clinical Research Dalarna; Falu hospital.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3460-7500
2019 (English)In: International Breastfeeding Journal, ISSN 1746-4358, E-ISSN 1746-4358, Vol. 14, article id 35Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Being a mother of a preterm infant (< 37 gestational weeks) puts the mother in a vulnerable and fragile situation wherein breastfeeding is an important part of becoming a mother and bonding with the infant. Nevertheless, the breastfeeding experience of mothers during the first year after a preterm birth has not been well studied. To develop professional caring and supporting relationships, it is important to address this knowledge gap. The aim of this study was to describe the breastfeeding experience of mothers of preterm infants from birth up until 12 months after birth.

Methods: The data in this qualitative study are derived from a multicentre randomized controlled trial where 270 mothers of preterm infants provided 496 written comments through questionnaires containing open-ended questions. The questionnaires were sent to the mother three times during the first 12 months after birth. A thematic network analysis based on hermeneutical philosophy was used to analyse and interpret the resulting data to describe the mothers' experiences of breastfeeding.

Results: Three organizing themes, namely, "navigating smoothly," "navigating with a struggle" and "navigating in ambiguity" were revealed in the mothers' narratives regarding their breastfeeding experiences during the first 12 months after birth. These organizing themes were further interpreted as one global theme that was deemed "A journey to finding one's unique way in breastfeeding."

Conclusion: Mothers of preterm infants are in an exposed and vulnerable situation when initiating breastfeeding during the first year. This situation leads to a unique journey wherein each mother navigates through breastfeeding depending on her individual situation. An awareness of the diversity of breastfeeding experiences may contribute to the provision of professional caring and supportive relationships.

Trial registration: www.clinicaltrial.gov NCT01806480 registered 7 March 2013.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, article id 35
Keywords [en]
Breastfeeding, Experiences, First year, Mothers, Preterm infant, Qualitative
National Category
Health Sciences
Research subject
Health and Welfare
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-30604DOI: 10.1186/s13006-019-0229-6ISI: 000478670200001PubMedID: 31388343OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-30604DiVA, id: diva2:1341942
Available from: 2019-08-12 Created: 2019-08-12 Last updated: 2019-08-15Bibliographically approved

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