Exploring experiences and attitudes towards breastfeeding among mothers, midwives and lactation consultants from Romania
Breastfeeding plays an important role in both mother’s and children’s health. It comes with numerous benefits, which are short-term and long-term, in both infants and mothers. For infants, these include lower risk of infection during the first year of life, respiratory infections, lower chance of developing obesity or asthma, better immune system. In mothers, breastfeeding can be a relevant factor for lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It is recommended for infants to be exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months of their life and complementary breastfed (after introducing solids) up to 2 years or more.
In Romania, rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of an infant’s life slightly increased from 12.6% in 2011 up to 29.8% in 2016 but are still considered low. At this point, there are no qualitative studies that look at the reasons for these low rates in Romania.
This study aims to conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews to explore the experience of mothers who gave birth in both public (N=5-10) and private (N=5-10) hospitals in the last 2 years, and the stakeholders involved in this process, such as breastfeeding counselors (N=10) and midwives (N=10). The main subjects that will be explored during interviews include: reproductive history (i.e. experiences related to giving birth in the healthcare unit and the involvement of the medical staff), mental health (i.e. changes that took place after giving birth, family and friends support), breastfeeding practices (i.e. the implementation of the “golden hour”, skin to skin contact practices, duration of breastfeeding, thoughts on the current situation in Romania and possible solutions or changes that should be implemented, information received from any kind of medical staff before, during and after the pregnancy), and exploration of specific topics related to breastfeeding towards which women felt a particular lack of support with (i.e. breastfeeding in the first day after birth).
The information gained from the study will bring important insights that would be relevant for future studies, interventions and campaigns that will focus on breastfeeding due to the fact that it includes different perspectives of the issue, having mothers, midwives and lactation consultants as the target population.