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Severe breastfeeding difficulties: an existential lostness as a mother
University of Borås, School of Health Science.
University of Borås, School of Health Science.
University of Borås, School of Health Science.
University of Borås, School of Health Science.
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 7, 1-10 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
The content falls within the scope of Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

A majority of women in Sweden initiate breastfeeding but almost a quarter stop or wean the infant in the first few weeks after birth because of difficulties. In order to develop care that facilitates initiation of breastfeeding and enables mothers to realize their expectations concerning breastfeeding, it is necessary to understand what having severe breastfeeding difficulties means for women who experience them. The aim of this study is to describe the lived experiences of initiating breastfeeding under severe difficulties. A reflective lifeworld research design was used. Eight women, seven primiparous and one multipara, were interviewed within 2 months of giving birth. The essential meaning of the phenomenon is described as "Existential lostness as a mother forcing oneself into a constant fight". This pattern is further explicated through its constituents; shattered expectations, a lost time for closeness, being of no use to the infant, being forced to expose oneself, and gaining strength through sharing. The results show that mothers with severe breastfeeding difficulties feel alone and exposed because of their suffering and are lost in motherhood. Thus, adequate care for mothers should enhance the forming of a caring relationship through sharing rather than exposing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Co-Action Publishing , 2012. Vol. 7, 1-10 p.
Keyword [en]
amning
Keyword [sv]
reflekterande livsvärldsansats
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Integrated Caring Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-1302DOI: 10.3402/qhw.v7i0.10846ISI: 000300454800001PubMedID: 22312409Local ID: 2320/11272OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-1302DiVA: diva2:869326
Available from: 2015-11-13 Created: 2015-11-13 Last updated: 2017-12-01
In thesis
1. Amning och existens: Moderskap, sårbarhet och ömsesidigt beroende vid inledande amning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Amning och existens: Moderskap, sårbarhet och ömsesidigt beroende vid inledande amning
2015 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aim: The overall aim of the thesis is to create knowledge about what it means for women to initiate breastfeeding and what consequences these meanings have from an existential perspective.

Approach and method: A lifeworld approach based on the epistemology of phenomenology and hermeneutics was used. Lifeworld interviews and meaningoriented analysis in accordance with the chosen lifeworld approach were performed. A synthesis and a philosophical analysis were carried out that facilitates an understanding of the existential meaning of initial breastfeeding and its consequences as a whole.

Main findings: Initiating breastfeeding, when it functions well, entails an existential challenge, a movement from a bodily performance to an embodied relationship with the infant and with oneself as a mother. When breastfeeding is experienced as being severely difficult, it entails an existential lostness as a mother, forcing her into a constant fight with herself, the infant, and others in order to find her way into motherhood. Severe breastfeeding difficulties can evoke existential vulnerability, forcing the mother to continue breastfeeding despite the difficulties, while hoping to be confirmed as a good mother; a fear of breastfeeding may be a consequence. Existential security is a necessary condition for continued breastfeeding whilst insecurity and fear of breastfeeding can lead to ceased attempts to breastfeed when experiencing severe initial difficulties. Initial breastfeeding and motherhood are intertwined in a way that affects the woman’s existence as a mother.

Conclusions: Initial breastfeeding is a complex phenomenon that is more than just a biological adaptation or a cultural issue; it touches on and evokes existential aspects of being a woman and a mother. Though anchored in both biology and culture, breastfeeding cannot be reduced to one or the other: it is both. There is a struggle between biology and culture that has existential consequences for women’s experiences of breastfeeding, the breastfeeding decision, and the women’s existence as a mother. There is a need for health professionals to look beyond the statistics of breastfeeding and consider the existential dimensions of breastfeeding-as-lived when encountering mothers wanting to breastfeed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2015. 101 p.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations, 220/2015
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-118 (URN)978-91-87925-59-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-22, Sal Wicksell, Hus K, Växjö, 10:30 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-05-29 Created: 2015-05-26 Last updated: 2015-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Palmér, LinaCarlsson, GunillaMollberg, MargaretaNyström, Maria
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