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Breastfeeding practices and coping strategies adopted by lactating nurses and midwives: A qualitative study

      Highlights

      • Nurses and midwives are experts , but some find it difficult to maintain exclusive breastfeeding.
      • Consumption of “rice-water” porridge and groundnut soup mayimprove breastmilk production.
      • Support from family and co-workers, may help lactating mothers manage breastfeeding stress .

      Abstract

      Purpose

      This study aimed to explore the breastfeeding practices and coping mechanisms of nurses and midwives to navigate the breastfeeding experience as health professionals.

      Design and methods

      A descriptive qualitative design was employed. Twenty-five registered nurses' and midwives' breastfeeding habits and coping methods were explored through five focus group discussions, each with five members. A purposive sampling approach was used to recruit participants. Only women who were currently breastfeeding an infant between the ages of 3 and 18 months were considered. For thematic content analysis, MAXQDA qualitative software was used.

      Results

      Breastfeeding practices and breastfeeding coping mechanisms emerged as the two main themes. Theme 1: Breastfeeding practices had four sub-themes: breastfeeding positions, breastfeeding duration, lactation nutrition, and expressed breast milk. Theme 2: breastfeeding coping strategies had four subthemes, support from family and co-workers, crying, praying, and communicating with infants.

      Conclusions

      Due to work and other related pressures, our study indicates a disparity in exclusive breastfeeding practice among registered nurses and midwives. Working lactating health professionals can use some of the study's coping strategies and beneficial breastfeeding practices to enhance effective breastfeeding.

      Practice implications

      Breastfeeding in the ideal sitting posture, eating the right diet to increase milk flow, and freezing breast milk to feed the infant while at work are all strategies proposed to help practicing nurses, midwives, and other working women navigate breastfeeding.

      Keywords

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