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Exclusive Breastfeeding among Mothers with low Socio-economic Status: A comparison of midwifes’ and mothers’ perceptions in Remscheid/Germany – a study protocol
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Exclusive breastfeeding is principally the best for the first six months of an infant’s life due to its optimal nutrient density and protective properties against infections. It provides several short- and long-term health benefits for infants, as well mothers benefit from breastfeeding. In developed countries, the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding are widely known, yet the rate of exclusive breastfeeding is low, especially among mothers with lower socio-economic status (SES). Therefore, particularly infants with a lower SES background benefit less often from exclusive breastfeeding. This seems to promote early health inequalities followed by high costs for the health care system.

The study protocol describes a qualitative study that aims to compare midwifes’ and low SES mothers’ perceptions of the factors which influence initiating and continuing exclusive breastfeeding. Perceptions from the two groups will be contrasted to explore whether midwives have realistic and accurate views about the issues facing low SES mothers with regard to exclusive breastfeeding. Eight in-depth interviews will be carried out with three freelanced midwives who work at Sana Hospital in Remscheid/Germany, and five mothers with low SES who gave birth at the same hospital. The tape recorded interviews will take approximately 40 to 60 minutes and will be performed in German. The tapes will be transcribed and the data will be analysed with structuring content analysis.

For the development of the question guide for the interviews a literature review was done. It was found that exclusive breastfeeding in its intention and duration is influenced by individual and social factors in addition to professional support. Infant feeding behaviour is complex and some factors that lead to initiating and continuing exclusive breastfeeding differ between mothers with higher and lower SES. In particular the individual factors intention to breastfeed and maternal smoking behaviour, and the social factors paternal attitude towards breastfeeding and social support differ between mothers with higher and lower SES. Experiences and perception of professional breastfeeding support is similar among all social classes. Yet mothers with higher SES tend to ask more often for professional support.

The results of the study will show if the factors influencing exclusive breastfeeding, as described in the reviewed literature, are similar in the German context among low SES mothers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 66 p.
, Centre for Public Health Report Series, ISSN 1651-341X ; 2014:38
Keyword [en]
exclusive breastfeeding, midwives, mothers with low socio-economic status, perceptions
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-97001OAI: diva2:769476
2014-10-06, Umeå, 11:35 (English)
Available from: 2016-04-07 Created: 2014-12-08 Last updated: 2016-04-07Bibliographically approved

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