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Breastfeeding Support from Partners and Grandmothers: Perceptions of Swedish Women

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Background: Support from the mother's network of relatives, friends, and professional caregivers during childbirth is likely to be important for breastfeeding success. Few studies have been conducted to examine mothers’ perceptions of breastfeeding support. The objective of this study was to describe breastfeeding support and feelings of confidence of primiparas and multiparas in relation to duration of breastfeeding. Methods: 

Mothers who delivered vaginally were eligible for inclusion. After receiving a questionnaire when their children were 9 to 12 months of age, 194 primiparas and 294 multiparas responded to questions on breastfeeding history and on perceived and overall breastfeeding support and feelings of confidence. Results: 

Feelings of overall breastfeeding support were correlated with duration of exclusive breastfeeding in both primiparas ( p < 0.001) and multiparas ( p < 0.001). Multiparas who knew how long they were breastfed as a child showed a longer duration of exclusive ( p = 0.006) and total ( p = 0.007) breastfeeding than multiparas who did not know. The time during which the partner was present after labor was correlated with the duration of exclusive ( p < 0.001) and total breastfeeding ( p = 0.002) in primiparas. Feelings of confidence when the baby was 6 to12 months old, as retrospectively rated on a visual analog scale, was correlated with feelings of confidence in the partner during childbirth in both primiparas ( p < 0.001) and multiparas ( p < 0.001) and the experience of overall breastfeeding support (primiparas, p = 0.002; multiparas, p < 0.001). Both groups were more content with breastfeeding information they received from midwives in the maternity wards, compared with that from antenatal midwives and postnatal nurses ( p < 0.001). Conclusions: 

A helpful support strategy for mothers with respect to breastfeeding outcome is for health professionals to discuss the grandmother's perception of breastfeeding with the mother. It is important for perinatal caregivers to provide an environment that enables the family to stay together after delivery. A helpful support strategy for health professionals might be to mobilize grandmothers with positive breastfeeding perception to provide support for their daughters’ breastfeeding. (BIRTH 30:4 December 2003)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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