Breastfeeding as a Specific Value in Women's Lives: The Experiences and Decisions of Breastfeeding Women
Background: Worldwide, breastfeeding is recommended for every woman who gives birth to a child. The propensity to breastfeed varies. There is considerable knowledge about the experiences and circumstances that affect the decision to breastfeed, but knowledge about what actually generates the decision’s force still needs to be increased. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge of how the decision to breastfeed is initiated and upheld. Subjects and Methods: Eighteen women from three generations were interviewed, and the data were analyzed by qualitative content analysis. Results: Six categories were revealed: ‘‘Task,’’ ‘‘Instinct,’’ ‘‘Silent Impact,’’ ‘‘Conflicts,’’ ‘‘Job,’’ and ‘‘Joy.’’ The women took on the Task of breastfeeding during pregnancy. The will to breastfeed was also recognized as an Instinct. The older women remained more in the background, exerting a Silent Impact. Parents’ agreement that mothers remain at home and breastfeed for the first 6 months could be considered disturbing from a gender equality perspective. Competition arose between spouses, which could lead to Conflicts at weaning. The mothers in the study chose to stay home to do the Job and experience the Joy of breastfeeding. Conclusions: A summarizing theme was the specific life value of breastfeeding, encompassing feelings of coherence, pleasure, and pride, regardless of generation affiliation. As the favorable interplay of biological, sensual, relational, and social elements this value upheld the decision to breastfeed. It compensated for the effort and negative experiences, and as a finding, it appears to be transferable among breastfeeding mothers in other developed countries.
PublisherMary Ann Liebert
CitationBreastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine 8(2013) nr. 1 s. 38-44
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