Breastfeeding is an important factor towards the growth of a healthy child. Mothers must be willing to undertake the process fully and avoid the early cessation of breastfeeding. The paper looks the reasons behind cessation of breastfeeding by low income mothers. The experience of mothers after giving birth is studied so that we can determine the causes and effects of early cessation of breast-feeding. The methodologies that have been used in the proposal include: interviews, sample surveys and data analysis. It was found that the “give it a go” culture affects the breastfeeding in low income mothers and the urge to return to work also led to them stopping this process. The study helped the policy makers to implement effective policies to ensure mothers are made aware of the benefits and problems associated with breastfeeding.
- INTRODUCTION AND AIM OF THE STUDY
Currently, there is rapid increase in the number of mothers ceasing to breastfeed their babies due to their low-income status. The breastfeeding services are very essential in shrinking health inequalities among the new-born in both developing and developed countries. Taking a sample of the low-income mothers in California, the research aim to employ descriptive methods to determine and meet various aims. The research aims to shed light to the explanation of the following aims.
More specifically, the research is aiming to determine how the following factors facilitated the breastfeeding
- Making contact with the paediatricians during their stay in hospital
- Breastfeeding seminars and workshops
- Informal support from various groups such as friends, family, and partners among others
- Parental craft lessons and antenatal clinic engagements
Taking into consideration the recently proposed Modernization Program of Health and Social Services, the research is being conducted with an aim of gathering relevant information on the improvement and integration of breastfeeding exercise. These exercises are the services that are delivered by the voluntary and public sectors. Such initiative will act as the core value of the substantial rise in breastfeeding maintenance and initiation. The previous researches have indicated that the bread feeding is highly administered by the cultural factors. However, the focus of this study is to determine how the low-income mothers are affected in their breastfeeding practices.
- RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
There is scarcity of qualitative studies involving new mothers on the issue of breastfeeding at both the national and local levels. A descriptive approach is therefore necessary to facilitate the understanding of this issue. The study explores how mothers make their decisions on breastfeeding and the various interventions that can be enforced to mitigate these decisions especially on low income mothers. The methodology employed in this research is aimed at understanding and shedding light on the issue of breastfeeding.
- Study area
The study was conducted in a suburb in Los Angeles, California in the USA. The area has recorded very low rates of breastfeeding and has very high health inequality problems. A Los Angeles hospital went through a thorough audit on the issue of breastfeeding and decided that it would go by the generally accepted guidelines of the UNICEF as far as breastfeeding is concerned. The hospital was to record the results of the intervention after a period of 3 months. The midwifery services put records of the women who chose to breast feed and the others who did not breastfeed. It is hoped that the research will provide the necessary information required for decision making.
A sample of women aged between 18 to 40 years was used to collect data. All the women under study were expectant thus it was an ideal sample that expressed interest of breastfeeding. The participants of the study were approached via social and local media like hospitals and classes for new mothers. The research was introduced to the individuals during their normal activities. In addition, the participants were contacted by telephone and notified about the research and their willingness to participate in the research. Moreover, home visits were made to observe the progress that the participants were making in the research.
The sample involved 50 women who were staged in a controlled environment where they were supposed to breastfeed their new-borns according to the set rules.
- Data collection
The main technique used was interviews. The expectant women and breastfeeding mothers were interviewed. In addition, 24 of the participants were visited in their home for a face to face interview on the progress of the program. The interview forms contained the following information; their personal; details, their reasons for breastfeeding and their past experience with breastfeeding.
- Data analysis
Data analysis was done to clean and model the collected data in the aim of deriving meaningful and authentic information that can be used to make necessary conclusions. Data analysis also helps in making necessary changes to detect and eliminate the erroneous parts of the data (Gelman 2004). Analysed data provided key implications of breastfeeding to the health of the mother and the child.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The aim of the dissertation is provide explanations to the following questions;
- How family members and close relative influence breast feeding
- The trend of breastfeeding among the low income women and
- The reason why many women fail to breastfeed their infants
- LITERATURE REVIEW
Recent researches have shown that in addition to improving development in an infant, breastfeeding also positively influences mother’s health. Several organizations have stepped forward to encourage breast feeding with some encouraging the mothers and others putting forward strict rule. The World Health Organization takes the key role by vouching for six months compulsory breastfeeding after birth. (WHO 2008). The role to implement these has been left to the government through the ministry of health. The widespread of maternity service by placing midwifes in almost every dispensary and encouraging them to inspire mothers especially the poor to breast feed.
In USA the trend of mothers ceasing to breast feed have been increasing in number, most of which results from low and medium income earners. Studies show that medium income earners have no time for their babies as work commits them, while the low income earners argue that their health will be negatively affected when they breast feed. In the case of unfavourable work conditions the government has enforced on maternal and as a result increasing the rate of breastfeeding among the medium income earners. These leave rates of breastfeeding in the remote areas ranging very low (Neville 2007). Other factors that are seen to affect the rate of breast feeding are education level and age with the rate increasing with increase in each (Hatcher 2004).
Several audits have been carried both in urban and remote areas on a sample of mothers with a large proportion being that of single mothers. These trends have shown that the rate of cease is higher in the rural areas with a large number of first time mothers in both regions ceasing from breastfeeding. Repeated audits have shown that the rate of first mother’s breastfeeding has been increasing while retarding in the rural areas. However these studies have emphasized on the number of children breast feed while showing very little on the quality of the services that the new born get from their mothers. More over researches have not incorporated the views and experiences that the mothers give for not breastfeeding. The research proposed thus is aimed at looking at these views and excuses in an effort to provide a qualitative data about feeding methods of infants and babies aged below one year. In addition to this, the study highlights the influences to a mother on whether to breastfeed or not from close friends and relatives.
The governments and nongovernment’s effort to get the citizens informed about the benefits of infant feeding as well as eliminating the existing beliefs about breast feeding have produce an increase in the rates of breastfeeding . However as compared to the effort made the results remain to be relatively insignificant many of the improvements ranging below three per cent. The results have been to show almost zero per cent increase in the category of low income earners and sometimes decreasing in in the lower aged category.
Modifications that are named by organization such as are not implemented in the right manner with most of them missing target. Moreover the implementing bodies have failed to incorporate the fact that there are some socio-cultural factors that majorly influence the mode of feeding new-born. These factors are the one that can be attributed to these low changes in rates of breast feeding.
Lately, many initiatives have arisen and other interventions with an aim of advising mothers on the importance of breastfeeding. A good example is the advert funded by the Department of Health which explains to mothers about the significant of breastfeeding to the health of an infant and the mother. However, there is little that has been done to establish the effects of influence s from the family, relatives and mates in breastfeeding. Hoddinott and Pill 1999 assert that some women plan to breastfeed but circumstances that do not favour breastfeeding intervene.
The findings of the research indicated the reasons behind early cessation of breastfeeding in mothers with a low income. The findings included:
Breastfeeding culture ignorance- many mothers are stressed and fear challenges that arises due to breastfeeding and this turns into a habit.
The use of bottle feeding culture has led to cessation of breastfeeding at an early time because most of the women undermine the process of breastfeeding.
The midwives influences breastfeeding when their attitude towards the mothers is very not positive and mishandling is on a higher rate.
Early cessation of breastfeeding is also as a result of mothers anticipating to get back to their jobs so that they can earn a living.
Breastfeeding can stop due to negative perceptions, anxiety and inadequate knowledge that make the women to feel uncomfortable when undertaking it.
The research aimed at shading light by giving evident based reasons for early cessation of breastfeeding in low class women. The policies in breastfeeding targets to promote and improves the services of child and maternal health. The sample of the population of who took part in the study expressed that they intended to breastfeed their new-borns before they gave birth. Contrary, it’s only a section of them who were ready to breastfeed after birth. 30% breastfeed exclusively at 4 weeks, 26% used the mixing method while 47% had ceased breastfeeding at the onset of giving birth. The surveys that have been conducted shows that this period must be taken care of if there is need to increase the duration of breastfeeding.
The research study shows detailed information on feeding trajectories experienced in low income women and it state the specific reasons for ceasing to breastfeed. A major contribution of the typical descriptive Design research is to indicate the relational nature between the different influences. Information on formal healthcare, advice from close relatives, high level of economic pressures that influences them to get back to jobs, poor relationships with the mid-wives, anxiety and discomfort, all can have an influence on the outcomes of breastfeeding. It was noted that the reasons are interrelated and interconnected.
- Implications for Policy and Practise
The research findings had the following implications to policy implementation delivery of services:
Advice and educational information is addressed to mothers so that they can avoid the “give it a go” culture. The information focuses on how the best ways to avoid problems that might result during the postnatal duration.
Education on breastfeeding is becoming very successful to women. The education offered raises the level of awareness about the advantages and negative implications on early cessation of breastfeeding. The marriage partners and family members are also incorporated into the system to support it fully.
The support for maternal and child health is available in the whole day. Through accessibility of the services, the mothers become confident and learn on the benefits on breastfeeding the new-borns as this reduces the high rates of infant mortality.
In a nutshell, women will tend to support the promotion schemes aimed at improving and supporting breastfeeding programs.
Sarah E. Neville, Kim Lim, & Lee K. Taylor. (n.d.). Newborn feeding practices at the time of discharge from hospital in NSW in 2007. New South Wales Public Health Bulletin
Hatcher, R. A. (2004). Contraceptive technology. New York: Ardent Media, Inc
Gelman, A. (2004). Bayesian data analysis. Boca Raton, Fla: Chapman & Hall/CRC