Improving Breastfeeding Supports in the United States: Exploring Convenience, Moments of Parental Savoring, and Cultivating Connection
Katherine E Soule
Journal of Behavioral Health. 2020;
The act of breastfeeding often dissects private and public life, allowing for intimate moments between parent and child in public spaces. The existing tensions are between the lack of social acceptance for breastfeeding and the emphasis on breastfeeding’s health benefits. The impact of these tensions comes to life when considering that, of babies born in 2018 across the United States, only 24.9% of infants were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life , which is more than 11% less than rates across the world . Utilizing a qualitative research methodology and the public health Socio-Ecological Model, the study discussed contributes to the small body of research that examines parental emotions, positive moods, perceived stress, and enhanced mental health benefits. The study explores parents’ positive breastfeeding experiences as something more than an act of nourishment or cultural construct. The findings center parents’ enjoyable experiences of breastfeeding as moments of convenience, savoring, and cultivating connection. The findings are paired with implications for increasing supports across multiple levels of influence of the SocioEcological Model to improve breastfeeding supports.