Breastfeeding educational needs of first time mothers during puerperium
Introduction: In South Africa it is common practice for a mother to be discharged from hospital within the first few hours after normal delivery. It is usually only after five to seven days when breastfeeding challenges emerge, when mothers might realise that they need help with their infant. It is therefore necessary to determine what challenges mothers experience during the puerperium, and exactly when these problems occur, to be able to help them to breastfeed their infants exclusively to the age of at least six months as suggested by the World Health Organization. Research aim and objective: The aim of this study was to identify the breastfeeding educational needs of first time mothers during the puerperium. To achieve this aim, the following objectives were set and reached. To identify what specific breastfeeding information should be provided to first time mothers during each week of the puerperium to support breastfeeding success. To develop concise, focussed breastfeeding information which can be shared with mothers on a weekly schedule during the puerperium by making use of a text message system. Research design: This study employed a qualitative, longitudinal descriptive design. Research method: In this study, data were collected using structured questions delivered to the participants by means of a text messaging system. No transcribing was necessary as all messages received from the participants were original and already in electronic format. After data collection all received messages were imported into a computer on a MS Excel spread sheet. To ensure anonymity, numeric codes were allocated to each participant's telephone number. The researcher used Tesch's eight step approach to analyse the data and also used an independent co-coder to verify the data analysis. Results: The analysis of the current study's qualitative findings, regarding mothers' experiences with breastfeeding challenges during the puerperium, produced different themes showing when during the puerperium the mothers encountered those specific challenges. Thirty three first time mothers participated and eight reported challenges from week one after the baby's birth. Twenty two messages regarding challenges were received from these eight participants. Challenges included nipple problems, fear of insufficient milk supply, breast problems, challenges regarding returning to work as well as maternal or infant illness. Participants who had experienced breastfeeding-related challenges during the first week of the puerperium, tended to experience challenges again later during the puerperium. Mothers who did not struggle with breastfeeding-related challenges during the first week of the puerperium did not encounter such problems later on. Support provided through text messages apparently helped to address challenges, although it did not prevent the recurrence of other problems.
- Health Sciences