Maternal experiences of embodied emotional sensations during breastfeeding : an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Watkinson, Marcelina and Murray, Craig David and Simpson, Jane (2016) Maternal experiences of embodied emotional sensations during breastfeeding : an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Midwifery, 36. pp. 53-60. ISSN 0266-6138

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Objective The purpose of this study was to explore mothers’ experiences of embodied emotional sensations during breastfeeding and to understand the meaning and consequences that such experiences had on mothers’ sense of self and the relationships they formed with their children. Design A qualitative design was applied to this study as it was judged as the most appropriate approach to this novel field of enquiry. Setting The study was conducted in [country] using a sample of mothers drawn from five different countries from Europe, America and Australia. Participants The sample consisted of 11 mothers who reported experiencing or having experienced negative embodied emotional sensations associated with breastfeeding in the past five years. Measurements Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the mothers and interviews were transcribed to enable the process of data analysis. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith et al., 2009a, 2009b ) was chosen as a method of data analysis, enabling in depth understanding and interpretation of the meaning of mothers’ experiences. IPA was chosen due to its idiographic commitment and particular interest in sense-making, phenomenology and hermeneutics. Findings Three themes were generated reflecting the multifaceted nature of breastfeeding experiences (i) ‘Breastfeeding: An unexpected trigger of intense embodied emotional sensations incongruent with view of self’, (ii) ‘Fulfilling maternal expectations and maintaining closeness with the child’, (iii) ‘Making sense of embodied emotional sensations essential to acceptance and coping’. Conclusions Breastfeeding has the potential to trigger a range of conflicting cognitions and emotions in mothers that may impact on how mothers view themselves and relate to their children. Implications for Practice Increasing awareness about emotional breastfeeding experiences and recognising the multifaceted, individual nature of difficulties around breastfeeding enables professionals to offer mothers person-centred care and avoid making clinical decisions and recommendations based on inaccurate knowledge.

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Journal Article
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Midwifery. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Midwifery, 36, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2016.02.019
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? breast feedingnegative feelingsnursing aversiond-merqualitative methodsmaternity and midwiferyobstetrics and gynaecology ??
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08 Mar 2016 11:48
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 11:22