The experience of formula feeding infants among women with mental health challenges




Humphries, Joan M.

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Women in the perinatal period who suffer from mental health challenge (and specifically mood disorders) have a number of special considerations to which they must attend. Issues around psychotropic medication, hormonal fluctuations and/or sleep hygiene, for example, may lead women to a decision to feed their infants with formula. In this hermeneutic study, the experiences of six women are studied. The women are registered with Perinatal Mental Health Program at Vancouver Island Health Authority, and are feeding their infants with formula. Evidence- based-practice guidelines are explored in the context of mental health challenge. A dilemma has been exposed around the perceived need expressed by participants for ‘permission’ to discontinue or not initiate breastfeeding. The potential for further understanding looms with regard to the relationship between breastfeeding challenge and the onset of a mood disorder, including the speculation that breastfeeding difficulties may belong on the list of risk factors for post partum depression.



Bottle feeding, Breastfeeding, Infant formulas, Mentally ill women