Encouraging breastfeeding: A relational perspective

Dykes, Fiona Clare orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2728-7967 and Flacking, Renee orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4013-1553 (2010) Encouraging breastfeeding: A relational perspective. Early Human Development, 86 (11). pp. 733-736. ISSN 03783782

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2010.08.004


Despite the WHO recommendations that babies should be breastfed exclusively for six months and thereafter for up to two years and beyond this pattern of feeding is far from the global norm. Although breastfeeding is triggered through biological mechanisms which have not changed with time, the perception of breastfeeding as a phenomenon is variable, as it not only reflects cultural values of motherhood but is also negotiable from the perspective of the individual. This paper argues that relationships are central to encouraging breastfeeding at an organisational, family and staff–parent level. This shifts our conceptualisations away from the primary focus of breastfeeding as nutrition which, in turn, removes the notion of breastfeeding as a productive process, prone to problems and failure.

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