Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A serial qualitative interview study of infant feeding experiences: Idealism meets realism
Author(s): Hoddinott, Pat
Craig, Leone C A
Britten, Jane
McInnes, Rhona
Contact Email:
Keywords: Medicine
Public health
Maternal and infant welfare
Issue Date: Mar-2012
Date Deposited: 12-Dec-2012
Citation: Hoddinott P, Craig LCA, Britten J & McInnes R (2012) A serial qualitative interview study of infant feeding experiences: Idealism meets realism. BMJ Open, 2 (2), p. e000504.
Abstract: Objective: To investigate the infant feeding experiences of women and their significant others from pregnancy until 6 months after birth to establish what would make a difference. Design: Qualitative serial interview study. Setting: Two health boards in Scotland. Participants: 72 of 541 invited pregnant women volunteered. 220 interviews approximately every 4 weeks with 36 women, 26 partners, eight maternal mothers, one sister and two health professionals took place. Results: The overarching theme was a clash between overt or covert infant feeding idealism and the reality experienced. This is manifest as pivotal points where families perceive that the only solution that will restore family well-being is to stop breast feeding or introduce solids. Immediate family well-being is the overriding goal rather than theoretical longer term health benefits. Feeding education is perceived as unrealistic, overly technical and rules based which can undermine women's confidence. Unanimously families would prefer the balance to shift away from antenatal theory towards more help immediately after birth and at 3-4 months when solids are being considered. Family-orientated interactive discussions are valued above breastfeeding-centred checklist style encounters. Conclusions: Adopting idealistic global policy goals like exclusive breast feeding until 6 months as individual goals for women is unhelpful. More achievable incremental goals are recommended. Using a proactive family-centred narrative approach to feeding care might enable pivotal points to be anticipated and resolved. More attention to the diverse values, meanings and emotions around infant feeding within families could help to reconcile health ideals with reality.
DOI Link: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000504
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
bmjopen504 Idealism realism 2012.pdfFulltext - Published Version291.67 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

A file in this item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.