Protecting, promoting, and supporting women who are breastfeeding: a relational inquiry approach




Robinson, Betty Ann

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Despite women’s high intention to breastfeed and their initiation of breastfeeding, breastfeeding duration rates remain poor. Health professionals supporting women in the early days with breastfeeding initiation play an important role in women successfully achieving their breastfeeding goals. Instrumental knowledge has dominated health professionals’ breastfeeding education and support practices. Using relational inquiry as an approach to breastfeeding education and practice is an innovative opportunity to engage with learners and women who are breastfeeding that may support women in achieving their breastfeeding goals. Using relational inquiry, breastfeeding success is explored within the contextual, interpersonal, and intrapersonal domains of both women who are breastfeeding and health professionals who are supporting them. Informing the knowledge of women and health professionals from empirical, aesthetic, ethical, and sociopolitical perspectives of relational inquiry may provide insight to achieve the success women desire. The specific purpose of my project is the development of an educational workshop using a relational inquiry approach and designed for health professionals who provide direct support to women who are breastfeeding in the early days. Using a relational inquiry approach, health professionals may authentically, intentionally, and responsively engage with women so that women’s breastfeeding goals are protected; women’s capacity and self-efficacy are promoted; and women feel and experience the relational support from health professionals that they require during the early days of breastfeeding initiation.



women, breastfeeding, relational practice, nursing education