Exploring the Process of Women's Infant Feeding Decisions in the Early Post Birth Period

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This article was originally published as:

Sheehan, A., Schmied, V., & Barclay, L. (2013). Exploring the process of women's infant feeding decisions in the early postbirth period. Qualitative Health Research, 23(7), 989-998. doi: 10.1177/1049732313490075

ISSN: 1552-7557


Research indicates that multiple factors are associated with decisions women make about infant feeding, yet few studies have explored the decision-making process. In this article, we present the analysis that produced the core category “deconstructing best,” previously reported as part of a grounded theory exploring 37 Australian women’s infant feeding experiences and decisions in the first 6 weeks postbirth. We expand on the previous article by detailing and discussing the phases of the infant feeding decision-making process in relation to decision-making theory. Analysis demonstrates the importance of these early weeks in shaping women’s infant feeding trajectories. Findings illustrate that information gathering encompassing multiple factors occurred at this time, and that complex and often competing goals were involved in the women’s decisions. We suggest that acknowledging and assisting women to meet alternate goals in the postbirth period might help them meet their breastfeeding goals.


The article can be accessed from the publisher here.