Military Women Who Discontinue Breast Feeding Before Planned


Name: Ann Hochhausen

Rank: MAJ, USA

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, CMR 402, APO AE 09180

Year Published: 1995

Abstract Status: Initial


Although breastfeeding is recognized as the most nutritionally appropriate food source for newborn infants in the first year of life, many women decide either not to breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding before the end of the first year. Because there is evidence in the United States that the incidence of breastfeeding is declining, much research has been focused on the factors that contribute to "successful breastfeeding" and the reasons why women stop breastfeeding. To date, there have been no studies which focused on military women's infant feeding practices, their experiences with breastfeeding, or how a military woman would define successful breastfeeding for herself. The purpose of this study is to make visible military woman's experiences of breastfeeding and stopping breastfeeding as lived by the woman themselves. The long-term goals of the study are to address the following questions: (1) What are the military woman's (officer, NCO, or enlisted) experiences of breastfeeding and what does it mean to them to have to stop, perhaps before planned? (2) What are the meanings of breastfeeding and its perceived significance to a military woman's life, to her new baby, husband or significant other, job, and personal life? (3) Are there common meanings and shared understandings among military women about breastfeeding that if uncovered could lead to further scientific investigation and intervention strategies helpful to military women, nurses, and commanders. DESIGN: Heideggerian Hermeneutical Inquiry. Fifteen active duty military women will self-identify for having breastfed their infants but stopped breastfeeding before they planned to. Subjects will be recruited by posted notices in military obstetric, pediatric, and family practice clinics in the greater Kaiserslautern area. Heideggerian hermeneutics is a phenomenological approach that seeks understanding of lived experiences through shared cultural meanings and practices. Subjects will be asked to respond to questions phrased in first person like #1 and #2 above. Specific probes are identified to focus the participant on feelings and events that elicit the meaning of the experience. Analysis is accomplished by a research team in multiple stages to elicit themes that may be useful to direct further study. Themes may also offer greater understanding to people associated with military women who choose to breastfeed while serving on active duty.