The Path of Determination: Exploring the Lived Experience of Breastfeeding

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Nursing and Public Health




Hauck, Y., Langton, D., & Coyle, K. (2002). The path of determination: exploring the lived experience of breastfeeding difficulties. Breastfeeding Review, 10(2), 5-12. Available here


Breastfeeding is the method of choice for infants and most women support the statement that 'breast is best'. Although the majority of Australian women do initiate breastfeeding, many also encounter difficulties in what they assume to be an easy, natural process. Additionally, a number of women face difficulties significant enough to warrant additional support from resources such as the Breastfeeding Centre of Western Australia. Managing these difficulties influences mothers' perceptions of their breastfeeding experiences. However, the stories of these women have not been addressed in the literature. This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of mothers with breastfeeding difficulties, who presented to the Breastfeeding Centre of Western Australia. In-depth interviews with ten women revealed three main themes: 'path of determination, 'staying on the path; and 'coming off the path'. The study contributes to the body of knowledge on infant feeding and provides insight to health care professionals working with breastfeeding women.