Many women said they wanted a greater focus on the emotional issues, with opportunities for partners to be involved in these discussions, rather than purely on the technicalities of breastfeeding.
"Pivotal points" when babies change their crying, feeding, or sleep patterns are common during the first six months, say the authors, and parents believed that changing the mode of feeding was one of the few ways in which they could restore the wellbeing of their child, themselves, and other family members.
The authors make several recommendations, including providing opportunities for "realistic, interactive discussions with appropriately skilled healthcare providers and peers before and after birth"; a shift to feeding care after birth: and a proactive rather than reactive approach.
More attention should be paid to realistic "rather than idealistic goals," they say, and suggest that healthcare professionals ditch the "checklist approach" in favour of a family centred narrative approach, and acknowledge that there are many ways to feed a baby safely.
"Almost two decades ago, there was a debate around idealism in health promotion which questioned the transformation of health into political value," write the authors.
"We would argue that it is time to revisit this debate for infant feeding, if we are to design and deliver successful interventions to improve infant feeding outcomes and subsequent health outcomes of future generations."
Editor in Chief of BMJ Open, Dr Trish Groves, comments: "Any research or other article that seems to be "anti-breast feeding" is, rightly, highly controversial. This study is not, however, against breast feeding: far from it.
"We hope that parents, and
|Contact: Stephanie Burns|
BMJ-British Medical Journal