Against all odds: a retrospective case-controlled study of women who experienced extraordinary breastfeeding problems

Hegney, Desley, Fallon, Tony and O'Brien, Maxine (2008) Against all odds: a retrospective case-controlled study of women who experienced extraordinary breastfeeding problems. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17 9: 1182-1192.

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Author Hegney, Desley
Fallon, Tony
O'Brien, Maxine
Title Against all odds: a retrospective case-controlled study of women who experienced extraordinary breastfeeding problems
Journal name Journal of Clinical Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-1067
Publication date 2008-05
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02300.x
Volume 17
Issue 9
Start page 1182
End page 1192
Total pages 11
Editor Roger Watson
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject C1
920507 Women's Health
111499 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine not elsewhere classified
111717 Primary Health Care
Abstract Aims The study investigated factors empowering women to continue breastfeeding despite experiencing extraordinary difficulties. The study documented the experiences and characteristics of women who continued to breastfeed (continuing cohort) and those who weaned (non-continuing cohort) despite extraordinary difficulties. Design Retrospective case control. Methods The study was undertaken in south-east Queensland, Australia in 2004. Forty women (20 in each cohort) were recruited over six months. Both quantitative (breastfeeding knowledge questionnaire) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews) data were collected. This paper describes the qualitative data. Results Women from both cohorts expressed idealistic expectations about breastfeeding and experienced psychological distress due to their breastfeeding problems. Those who continued breastfeeding used coping strategies and exhibited personal qualities that assisted them to overcome the difficulties experienced. Women who continued to breastfeed were more likely to report relying on a health professional they could trust for support. This latter cohort were also more likely to report having peers with which they shared their experiences. Non-continuing women expressed feelings of guilt and inadequacy following weaning and were more likely to feel isolated. Conclusions This study has highlighted the methods women use to deal with breastfeeding problems. It has also revealed modificable factors that can improve breastfeeding duration. Relevance to clinical practice The findings indicate that clinicians should: • Provide information which accurately reflects the breastfeeding experience; • Ensure systems are in place so that effective postnatal support for breastfeeding difficulties is available; • Consider screening to ascertain levels of psychological distress, sadness and disillusionment among breastfeeding women; • Design educational interventions with elements of cognitive skills, problem-solving and self-efficacy training to equip women with the skills to overcome any experienced difficulties.
Keyword breastfeeding
breastfeeding difficulties
breastfeeding problems
coping strategies
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Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Additional Notes This is an author version of an article originally published as : Desley Hegney BA(Hons), PhD, RN, Tony Fallon BSc, PhD, Maxine L O’Brien BSc(Hons) Psych (2008) Against all odds: a retrospective case-controlled study of women who experienced extraordinary breastfeeding problems Journal of Clinical Nursing 17 (9) , 1182–1192 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02300.x Copyright 2008 Blackwell Publishing. All rights reserved.

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