Breastfeeding and Health Care Experiences are a group of 440 mothers, all of whom breastfeed their children; approximately half of the group are health care professionals (HCPs) or breastfeeding peer supporters and all are citizen scientists with Parenting Science Gang. The group worked together to design, run and analyse research on breastfeeding and health care experiences.
This group is interested in the vital role that health professionals play in supporting mothers to breastfeed successfully.
Research on Breastfeeding and Healthcare Experiences:
The group collaborated with Dr Gavin Brookes at Lancaster University, creating a survey asking mothers who wanted to breastfeed, to share their experiences of healthcare in the UK. Over 700 mothers responded. The group are still analysing the results, using a technique called Corpus Linguistics; we are delighted to share some preliminary findings with you.
The group members have created a card summarising the results, with busy HCPs in mind (see image below). On the back is a list of useful evidence-based resources for HCPs to access up-to-date information on breastfeeding and medication.
- the early days are crucial.
- “throw away” comments can make or break breastfeeding for many mums.
- lack of time for staff a major factor.
- tongue tie seems to be commonly missed or down-played.
- problematic latches and the effective transfer of milk were a significant issue but often the focus was on treating weight loss, thrush, mastitis or nipple damage rather than the underlying problem.
What worked / what mothers wanted
- Listening to the mother is the most important thing.
- The success stories normally happened when one person listened to the mother about the whole situation and worked through everything step by step.
- HCPs need to be ready to listen to what mothers want/need before offering any advice.
- HCPs working with mothers shouldn’t be afraid to admit they don’t always know the answer and be willing to look in to it
Download a copy of our card, based on our preliminary results of analysis of our survey of over 700 mothers’ stories of breastfeeding and healthcare in the UK.
More on breastfeeding and healthcare
Read our blogs on breastfeeding and healthcare to find out more about the subject and our research process.