2002 Simmons V (2002). Exploring inconsistent breastfeeding advice: 1. British Journal of Midwifery, 10(5): 297-301.
There is now no doubt that breastfeeding provides health benefits for both infant and mother. Although 68% of all mothers in the UK initiate breastfeeding, only 44% are still breastfeeding at 6weeks (Foster et al, 1997). This large proportion of mothers who discontinue breastfeeding before the infant is 6-weeks old do so at a time when the input from health professionals (midwives and health visitors) is at its greatest. It is recognised that professional support when needed is an important element in successful breastfeeding, but conflicting or inconsistent professional advice and practice appear to remain persistent disadvantages. This series of three articles describes a qualitative study which involved interviewing midwives, health visitors and a group of breastfeeding mothers within a single NHS Trust in the north of England. Framework content analysis was used to analyse the interview data in order to explore the basis and effects of inconsistent breastfeeding advice.