Mothers’ voices: results of a survey of public health nurse-led breastfeeding support groups
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Mothers’ voices: results of a survey of public health nurse-led breastfeeding support groups

Angela Nolan Assistant director of public health nursing, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Sylvia Kennedy Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Anne O’Malley Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Marie Kirwan Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Ann Hughes Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Anita Barry Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Vivienne Goodwin Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Anne Marie Cunningham Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Helen Coyne Public health nurses, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland
Linda Nugent Research fellow, Health Services Executive, Dublin, Ireland

Angela Nolan and colleagues present findings from a study carried out in Ireland to examine the experiences of women attending such groups and how they viewed the advice and support on infant feeding provided by public health nurses

Research reporting that mothers are dissatisfied with support for breastfeeding in the community indicates the need for a consistent approach to breastfeeding support groups. The study described in this article allows mothers’ voices to be heard by examining their experiences of breastfeeding support groups led by public health nurses (PHNs) in North Dublin, Ireland. A survey with open and closed questions was sent to 177 mothers, 96 of whom responded. Emerging themes included: weighing babies at group meetings, PHNs as group facilitators, and self-efficacy. The results show that mothers value support from PHNs in the early stages of breastfeeding but prefer peer support as breastfeeding progresses. Social support was rated highly. The timing of the group, atmosphere and the availability of refreshments were important. A more formal, structured approach to support groups and the introduction of practice guidelines are needed to ensure mothers receive a good, consistent experience in the community.

Primary Health Care. 25, 7,26-31. doi: 10.7748/phc.25.7.26.e998

Correspondence

angela.nolan@hse.ie

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind peer review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 18 December 2014

Accepted: 19 January 2015