chapter  14
13 Pages

Understanding and enabling breastfeeding in the context of maternal-infant needs

ByKristin P. Tully, Helen L. Ball

With an awareness of cross-cultural, cross-species, and historical investigations, as well as an understanding of developmental processes in context, people are able to imagine how clinical settings and methods of care might differ from those currently experienced. Trade-offs have been experienced throughout mammalian, primate, and hominin existence. However, the interconnected physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of the 'fourth trimester' on human mothers are often not recognized or supported in contemporary Western settings. Participants revealed they were confused by the frequency of nocturnal infant wakings, leading many to conclude that their infants' frequent desire to feed indicated they were not producing sufficient milk for their infants' needs. Holistic assessment of mothers' experiences is required for evidence-based breastfeeding support and 'family-centered' care, so that breastfeeding trade-offs can be shifted to be more in favor of dyads. Women may be aware of recommendations, such as solitary infant sleep, but adopt different practices for a variety of reasons.