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Promoting Individualized Breastfeeding Experiences

Rossman, Carol L. DNP, PNP; Ayoola, Adejoke B. PhD, RN

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: May/June 2012 - Volume 37 - Issue 3 - p 193–199
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e318247db71

Breastfeeding is beneficial for the baby and the mother, but is yet to be successfully practiced by newly delivered women as proposed in the Healthy People 2020 goal. Most breastfeeding education during the prenatal or postpartum period provides adequate information for interested women. However, mothers need individualized client–professional interactions and follow-up after hospital discharge. This article describes the breastfeeding experiences of two women and the implications for nurses and other healthcare professionals in relation to efforts to promote breastfeeding. Two anecdotal case studies are presented illustrating that even when mothers have resources and education, the breastfeeding education can be frustrating and misunderstood. Nurses can master the skill of closing the feedback loop in breastfeeding education by assessing and clarifying women's interpretation of breastfeeding information they received. This nursing skill can empower mothers to make informed decisions for effective and sustained breastfeeding.

Case studies describe the breastfeeding experiences of two women, and the authors discuss how nurses can provide individualized breastfeeding education and experiences for new mothers.

Carol L. Rossman is an Associate Professor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. She can be reached via e-mail at

Adejoke B. Ayoola is an Assistant Professor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.