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A photo-elicitation exploration of UK mothers’ experiences of extended breastfeeding

BURTON, Amy, TAYLOR, Jennifer, OWEN, Alison, Renshaw, Janette, Williams, Leah and DEAN, Sarah (2021) A photo-elicitation exploration of UK mothers’ experiences of extended breastfeeding. Appetite, 169. ISSN 0195-6663

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Abstract or description

In this qualitative study we explored the experiences of women breastfeeding children over 12 months of age. Data were collected from 24 participants using semi-structured photo-elicitation interviews and photo-prompted online surveys. Participants took photographs of their extended breastfeeding experiences over one week and reflected on how the events depicted made them feel, and what they represented in terms of their experience. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four themes were developed; parenting through breastfeeding: meeting the needs of my child, my body is not my own, social influences on the breastfeeding experience, and thinking about stopping: my choice or theirs? Findings highlight that extended breastfeeding was experienced as beneficial for both mother and child, promoting closeness, and bonding, and providing a valued parenting tool. However, some mothers reported conflict between their desire for child-led extended breastfeeding and the need to regain autonomy and control of their own bodies. The dangers of negative societal responses to extended breastfeeding and risks to mental health posed by cultural constructions of ‘ideal’ motherhood are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Amy BURTON
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2021 14:05
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2023 09:38

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