Transitions, the risk and the relationships: a comprehensive literature review exploring the postpartum breastfeeding journey




Little, Ann

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Women’s postpartum experiences are influenced by multiple interactions during a period of extraordinary change. In relation to these interactions feeding choices emerge. Breastfeeding, as an important infant feeding option, is of particular interest to health care professionals due to the prevention, health promotion, and early intervention opportunities available. In this project a review of selected literature, within an issues articulation and resolution framework, facilitates exploration of the current state of knowledge about women who choose to breastfeed their babies and identifies issues related to women’s breastfeeding experiences. Understanding the context of women’s feeding decisions provides direction for reflection on nursing practice development. The challenging balance for nurses is in providing sensitive interventions and individualized care in association with population health and health promotion services. Discussion of the issues provides insight into some of the challenges to providing nursing supports and also identifies areas that need to be made more visible to health care planners and decision makers about the care issues surrounding women, infants, and families during important postpartum transitions. Further research opportunities relate to health care priorities and to learning about effective care approaches especially for women who are more difficult to engage in research.



breastfeeding, breastfeeding journey, infant feeding, post partum support, perinatal support, nurses role, health promotion, parenting transitions