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Reconfiguring insufficient breast milk as a sociosomatic problem: mothers of premature babies using the kangaroo method in Brazil

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Abstract:

Abstract

This study focuses on Brazilian mothers who gave birth to premature babies who were discharged from hospital using the Kangaroo Mother Care Method. While mothers left the hospital breastfeeding exclusively, once back at home, they abandoned exclusive breastfeeding because of insufficient breast milk (IBM). In this project we explored how IBM was interpreted by mothers within their social context. Participatory research using the Creative Sensitive Method was done in the homes of mothers with family members and neighbours. We described the conflicting social discourse that influenced the mothers' perception of IBM and explored their sources of distress. At the hospital and Kangaroo ward, mothers considered that clinicians recognized they were experiencing IBM and thus supported them to overcome this problem. Back at home and in their community, other sources of stress generated anxiety such as: the lack of outpatient clinical support, and conflicting local norms to care and feed premature babies. These difficulties combined with economic constraints and discontinuity in models of health care led mothers to lose confidence in their breastfeeding capacity. Mothers, thus, rapidly replaced exclusive breastfeeding by mixed feeding or formula feeding. Our analysis suggests that IBM in our sample was the result of a socio-somatic process. Recommendations are proposed to help overcome IBM and corresponding contextual barriers to exclusive breastfeeding.

Keywords: breastfeeding; insufficient breast milk; kangaroo mother care method; premature; socio-cultural; socio-somatic

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-8709.2008.00151.x

Affiliations: 1: Culture & Mental Health Research Unit, Sir Mortimer B. Davis – Jewish General Hospital & Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and 2: Pediatric Nursing Nucleus of Research at Escola de Enfermagem Anna Nery, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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