Lee, Ellie J. and Furedi, Frank
Mothers’ experience of, and attitudes to, the use of infant formula for feeding babies.
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In British society, breastfeeding is offered cultural affirmation. Images of women breastfeeding their babies are prominently displayed in maternity wards and other healthcare settings. Magazines for pregnant women and new mothers promote breastfeeding to their readers, drawing attention in particular to its health benefits for babies. Advice books and manuals about baby care make it clear that breastfeeding is best. The aim of the study reported on here was to investigate the experience of women in this context. Its particular focus is mothers who feed their babies with formula milk. How do mothers who feed their baby formula milk engage with the cultural expectation to breast-feed? Why do they use formula milk? What information do they receive about doing so? Who provides it and in what form? How do they feel about feeding their babies this way? In particular, given that formula use appears discouraged, to what extent do such women feel respected as mothers?
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