Factors that influence commitment to breastfeeding: A pilot study

Grace Ricotti, Tanefa Apekey, Lisa Gatenby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Only 1% of mothers in the UK meet the World Health Organization recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. Understanding what helps UK mothers to commit to exclusive breastfeeding could help shape the promotion and support of breastfeeding.

    Objective: To investigate the experiences of mothers who are fulfilling this recommendation, by considering their initial motivations, the barriers they faced and effective coping strategies.

    Design: Seven mothers (average age 30.2 years) were recruited through a breastfeeding support group. A 30-minute semi-structured face-to-face interview allowed the mothers to provide elaborate personal accounts of their experiences. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The coded data were organised by clustering statements into common themes to finalise the general dimensions. Categories were separated into time frames-feeding intentions, breastfeeding duration and commitment to breastfeeding-and then organised with sub-headings.

    Setting: Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, UK.

    Subjects: White British mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding a child aged 4-12 months.

    Results: Threats to breastfeeding duration include pain and the notion of negative support. Commitment to breastfeeding is aided by peer support, perceived convenience and personal determination. Implications for wider research include the compatibility and effectiveness of support programmes both pre- and postnatal, inclusion of the wider family and methods for promoting and tailoring messages to nursing mothers.

    Conclusions: The data from this pilot study will inform the design of larger research across the UK.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-223
    JournalJournal of Health Visiting
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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