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Women's Experience of Breastfeeding in Victoria, Australia

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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Considerable research attention has focussed on the initiation of breastfeeding in an attempt to identify the factors which may determine how an infant is fed from birth, and other studies have examined women's experiences of breastfeeding over time (Aarts, Kylberg, Hornell, Gebre-Medhin, & Greiner, 2000; Bailey & Sherriff, 1992; Binns & Scott, 2002). These have been treated as quite separate concepts in previous research and led me to design a study for my PhD in 1995, which would examine an array of variables thought to influence women's experiences of breastfeeding over time. The overall aim of the study was to identify, describe and analyse women's experiences of breastfeeding, recognising that there are a range of factors that impact on infant feeding practices and decision-making. The scope of the study was broad and conducted, for most participants, over the duration of their breastfeeding experience. Using a longitudinal survey design, just under 700 women were recruited, with 3-monthly follow-up. Participants left the study once they had fully weaned their baby. This case study describes the research process used and challenges faced in designing and conducting this study.

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