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Research methodologies to investigate the experience of\ud breastfeeding: a discussion paper

By Rachael Louise Spencer


This paper is a discussion of the importance of choosing appropriate methodologies to research the breastfeeding experience of women in the United Kingdom. Despite a plethora of research emphasising the benefits of breastfeeding to maternal and infant health, there is a relative dearth of research from the United Kingdom about women’s experiences of breastfeeding. In order to understand the inherent complexities of successfully promoting and supporting breastfeeding, a mothers’ breastfeeding experience must be examined within her specific context. This is increasingly recognised as a vital tool in providing effective\ud support by health care professionals in extending breastfeeding duration. As such, this highlights the importance that appropriate methodologies are chosen through which to explore this phenomenon from the perspective of those experiencing it. This paper debates the importance of philosophical lines of enquiry in relation to breastfeeding research, and argues that engaging with ontological perspectives would offer opportunities for researchers to engage with women’s understanding of breastfeeding in today’s society. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach that is informed from feminist methodologies is deemed the most appropriate in researching mothers’ views of breastfeeding

Topics: B720 Midwifery, B700 Nursing
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.04.008
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