Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Nursing

School

School of Nursing

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Patricia Perceival

Second Advisor

Yvonne Hauck

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study, guided by Rubin's Model was to describe women's perceptions of successful breastfeeding during the early stages of being a mother. The transition to motherhood marks a time of great developmental change in a woman's life. Infant feeding is an important aspect of this adaptation to the maternal role. The physiological benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby are well documented, but there is limited research on the psychological advantages of breastfeeding for the mother. This Masters research was a discrete part of a larger research project entitled the Perth Metropolitan Breastfeeding Study. This project comprised two parts: 1) The Breastfeeding Duration Study (conducted by Dr. P. Percival and Mrs. E. Duffy), which investigated the effects of an antenatal group teaching session for 395 breastfeeding mothers on nipple pain, nipple trauma and breastfeeding duration and 2) The Successful Breastfeeding Study, which investigated 20 women's perceptions of successful breastfeeding during the early stages of being a mother. The latter study, which is the focus of this Masters research, recruited a convenience sample of 20 successfully breastfeeding participants from the experimental group of the Breastfeeding Duration Study. Interviews were conducted at four weeks postpartum. Data were generated from audiotaped, open-ended interviews and analysed using the method of content analysis described by Burnard. This method involved describing, interpreting and extrapolating themes and meanings from the data. Validity and reliability were confirmed throughout data collection and analysis. Six main themes emerged from the data: The Ideal Mother Breastfeeds, Achievements, Accommodating a Breastfeeding Baby, Concerns, Breastfeeding is a Learnt Skill and Approaches to Breastfeeding. The findings provide an increased understanding and knowledge of women's experience of successful breastfeeding during the early stages of being a mother. They have significance for health administrators, prenatal educators, midwives and community nurses in the provision of resources, education, care and support to assist women to meet their desired breastfeeding goals.

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