Document Detail

When 'breast' is no longer 'best': Post-partum constructions of infant-feeding in the hospital.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25462608     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
In this paper, we focus on the initial experiences of breastfeeding among mothers to examine the ways that infant-feeding is socially constructed in the hospital. Data comes from 51 in-depth interviews with 17 first-time mothers in Ontario, Canada. Analysis reveals 52 magnified moments that we categorize as Successful, Ultimately Successful and Unsuccessful. For mothers who describe Successful and Ultimately Successful moments, breastfeeding is understood as physiologically natural, and as something they must learn to do. Unsuccessful moments reveal that when health care providers interpret breastfeeding as not working, the breastfeeding discourse frequently shifts to one that incorporates formula as the means to achieve optimal infant health. In other words, in the hospital 'breast is best' holds true when breast 'works', otherwise mothers are often directed to give their babies formula. While formula appears to be compulsory in these moments, it is not typically understood as a "good or best" infant-feeding practice. For mothers in this situation, the shift from breast to formula is experienced as failures or evidence of inadequacy in their mothering. Paradoxically, our results suggest that formula may not, in and of itself, pose a threat to mothers' overall continued practice of breastfeeding. It appears that Successful and Ultimately Successful moments coincide with the current dominant 'breast is best' understanding. Unsuccessful moments, conversely, are insightful because they reveal when and how hospital practices disrupt mothers' understanding of their bodies and their role in providing the 'best' form of infant food. The implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Jessica Braimoh; Lorraine Davies
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-10-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  123C     ISSN:  1873-5347     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2014 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-12-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  2014-12-3    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  82-89     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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