Women’s insight into how maternity care and birth impact on breastfeeding.

Women’s insight into how maternity care and birth impact on breastfeeding?


One of the key success factors for breastfeeding is early initiation of breastfeeding after birth.  Women who felt positive about the birth commented that this gave them confidence impacting positively on their successful breastfeeding.

“I had a positive birth with no interventions, which set me up as well as possible for a good start to breastfeeding.”

 “My maternity care and birth helped to facilitate breastfeeding – had baby skin to skin straight away and lots of support and encouragement for breastfeeding.”

 “Birth made it extremely hard to even look after myself which made care for a newborn incredibly hard and painful.”

 “I didn’t have skin to skin after birth and we found breastfeeding hard and I believe my birth experience led to this.”

Women mentioned that there was not adequate breast feeding education before giving birth.

“I was adamant I wanted to breastfeed even visited a lactation consultant before birth to learn everything I could possibly know about breastfeeding before birth so I could have the best chance of succeeding. I lacked support post-birth with breastfeeding.”

 “Not much if any info given in antenatal appointments, midwives in hospital after birth we’re great.”

 “There needs to be more breastfeeding education prior to birth for women.”

Early discharge, without home support impacted on successful breastfeeding.  With the increasing trend to shorter stays in hospital after birth, we were told by women in free text comments that there is a need for more professional postnatal support, in initiating and establishing breastfeeding, including greater access to support from midwives and lactation consultants.

“I have strong intentions to breastfeed however I was unsuccessful. I was given conflicting and in some instances poor advice whilst in hospital. I was told I had to go home after spending two nights in hospital but before I had been able to successfully feed my baby unassisted.”

“It would be good if women could stay in hospital until their milk comes in and baby’s latching well.”

The impact of shorter stays on breastfeeding remains unexamined.

Continuity of carer supported successful breastfeeding.

“I was very supported with breastfeeding education prior to giving birth, my midwife was very helpful in establishing breastfeeding in the first hour after birth. There was continual education and support for breastfeeding in the six week aftercare period we had with our midwife.”

 “My midwives prepared me well for breastfeeding and I had a normal birth with a very small tear so breastfeeding came easily to me. My milk came in quickly and my baby gained weight quickly.”

“Very positive impact- I did breastfeed and having an intervention free birth allowed me and baby all the uninterrupted time we needed post birth. My midwives were incredibly helpful and supportive in the days and weeks that followed.”