Strategies for success: a toolbox of coming strategies used by breastfeeding women

Hegney, Desley and O'Brien, Maxine L. and Buikstra, Elizabeth and Fallon, Tony (2009) Strategies for success: a toolbox of coming strategies used by breastfeeding women. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18 (11). pp. 1574-1582. ISSN 0962-1067


Aims. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of two qualitative studies which identified strategies used by breastfeeding women to assist them to continue breastfeeding.
Background. While breastfeeding initiation rates are high in Australia, the majority of women wean before the recommended time. The identification of interventions which may increase breastfeeding duration is therefore a research priority.
Design. The Against All Odds study used a case-controlled design to investigate the characteristics of women who continued to breastfeed in the face of extraordinary difficulties. Phase One of the I Think I Can study employed the Nominal Group Technique to investigate the views of subject matter experts regarding which psychological factors may influence the duration of breastfeeding.
Method. Against All Odds study participants (n = 40) undertook a one- to two-hour interview and the transcribed data were analysed using thematic analysis. Stratified purposeful sampling was employed in the I Think I Can study (n = 21), with participants assigned group membership according to their most recent breastfeeding experience. A fourth group was composed of experienced breastfeeding clinicians. The nominal group technique was used to generate group data and segments of the discussion were audiotaped and transcribed for thematic analysis.
Results. Participants in both the studies raised strategies used to assist them in their efforts to cope with the challenges of breastfeeding and early motherhood. These strategies included increasing breastfeeding knowledge, staying relaxed and ‘looking after yourself’, the use of positive self-talk, challenging unhelpful beliefs, problem solving, goal setting and the practice of mindfulness.
Conclusions. Employment of these simple behavioural and cognitive strategies may assist women to cope with the pressures inherent in the experience of early mothering, thereby increasing the duration of breastfeeding.
Relevance to clinical practice. These results may represent a ‘tool box’ of coping strategies which can be provided to women for use in the postnatal period.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2009 15:19
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2014 23:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: breastfeeding; cognitive therapy; midwifery; nursing; psychological well-being; stress
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111707 Family Care
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111006 Midwifery
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920210 Nursing
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02667.x

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