Oct
28

The number you are trying to reach is not in service…

I’ve finally began contacting participants and collecting data for my project.  The process has been much more difficult than anticipated.  I’ve been attempting to contact the women by phone, but the numbers tend to be either out of service or connected to the wrong person.  I’ve called about 30 women so far and have only conducted 2 interviews.  However, the interviews that I did conduct were successful.  The interviews allowed me to gain better insight into the women’s beliefs and attitudes towards breastfeeding.

Both of the women I contacted did not breastfeed their infants.  They both stated the same reasons for not initiating breastfeeding – they were not comfortable doing so.  However, both women stated infant health benefits as advantages of breastfeeding.  In addition, after their deliveries, both women spoke with lactation consultants and other healthcare professionals about breastfeeding.  Nonetheless, they both decided to bottle-feed their infants.

The first participant I interviewed had no experience with breastfeeding – neither she nor her siblings were breastfed as infants and none of her family or friends had breastfed their children.  She stated that she “didn’t approve of breastfeeding” and that she was not comfortable with the process.  In the questionnaire, she disagreed with items that indicated positive factors of breastfeeding (e.g. breastfeeding is important for my baby’s health) and agreed with items that indicated negative factors (e.g. breastfeeding is too painful).  She also claimed to have little confidence in her ability to have breastfed if she had chosen to do so.

The second participant I interviewed told me that she was encouraged to breastfeed by her mother, who had breastfed her and her siblings.  However, she decided not to breastfeed, claiming that she had been nervous and that “it wasn’t for her.”  In the questionnaire, she agreed with items that indicated positive factors of breastfeeding and disagreed with items that indicated negative factors.  These results were surprising – like the first participant, I would have expected her to reject positive notions of breastfeeding and support negative ones.   When asked if she was confident in her ability to have breastfed, she neither agreed nor disagreed.

My lab partner on the Healthy Beginnings Follow-Up Study conducted an interview with a woman who had initiated breastfeeding.  The participant was encouraged to breastfeed by her mother, who had breastfed her and her siblings.  She breastfed for 4-6 months, but found it difficult to pump milk while she was incarcerated.  She claimed that the jail policies were not favorable towards mothers, and that she was lucky if she could pump milk once a day.  In the questionnaire, she agreed with items that indicated positive factors of breastfeeding and disagreed with items that indicated negative factors.  She also claimed to be confident in her ability to breastfeed.

Based on the interviews so far, I notice that self-efficacy is positively related to breastfeeding initiation.  The second participant I interviewed was knowledgeable about the benefits of breastfeeding and had received support from her family.  Her decision not to breastfeed makes me think that this could have been due to her lack of confidence.  In addition, the participant who did initiate breastfeeding was the only one who claimed to be confident in her ability to breastfeed.  I am curious to see the relations between breastfeeding initiation and self-efficacy in other participants.