J Caring Sci. 2021;10(3): 169-176.
doi: 10.34172/jcs.2021.023
  Abstract View: 21
  PDF Download: 40

Original Article

Mothers’ Breastfeeding Experiences of Emotional Support Needs: A Qualitative Study in Iran

Nahid Maleki Saghooni 1 ORCID logo, Hossein Karshki 2 ORCID logo, Habibollah Esmaily 3 ORCID logo, Fakhera Zaidi Feroz 4 ORCID logo, Khadigeh Mirzaii Najmabadi 5* ORCID logo

1 Students Research Committee, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran
2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education Sciences & Psychology, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran
3 Department of Biostatistics, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
4 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Academic Health Science Center (AHSC) for Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health (PMNCH), London, U.K.
5 Department of Midwifery, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran
* Corresponding Author: Khadigeh Mirzaii Najmabadi, Email: mirzaiikh@mums.ac.ir


Introduction: Breastfeeding is an important strategy to ensure health promotion and wellbeing. Since breastfeeding rates have consistently decreased around the world, protection, promotion, and supportive programs are considered as public health priorities. This study aims to explore breastfeeding mothers’ perceptions and experiences of emotional support needs.

Methods: This study was performed in five health centers and four hospitals affiliated to Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Using a qualitative approach, 36 breastfeeding mothers, family members, and health providers attended individual semi-structured in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed using directed content analysis based on the Elo and Kyngas approach, with MAXQDA software version 10.

Results: Four categories of ‘need to tranquility and solace’, ‘sense of being loved and belongingness’, ‘creating hope, motivation, and confidence’, and ‘empathy and companionship’, and 12 subcategories including ‘not inducing stress’, ‘relieving the mother’s stress and worries’, ‘creating and maintaining tranquility’, ‘understanding and attention’, ‘receiving affection from significant others’, ‘being respected by others’, ‘ being inspired by significant others’, ‘being assured by family members’, ‘being motivated by significant others’, ‘interacting with others’, ‘having the companionship and presence of others’, and ‘receiving empathy from others’ were identified as the mothers’ emotional support needs.

Conclusion: Mothers need emotional support to sustain breastfeeding. Significant others, such as the husband, family members, and health providers play an important role in meeting breastfeeding mothers’ emotional support needs.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Qualitative research, Social support, Emotional support, Support needs

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Submitted: 15 Jul 2020
Accepted: 06 Jan 2021
ePublished: 23 Aug 2021
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