The aim of this study was to use the grounded theory method to discover the main concerns of midwives in relation to their practice with baby feeding, and to identify the processes that are involved in dealing with baby feeding in their day-to-day work. Data were generated from thirty in-depth interviews with midwives who worked in two maternity care Trusts in the North of England. Data were analysed using constant comparative techniques of the grounded theory method. A computer software program (Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorising package) for qualitative data analysis was used to manage and store the analysis. The grounded theory that emerged suggests that baby feeding was not an easy part of these midwives’ work. These midwives were finding ways of dealing with the pressures that were around them, and which they felt, were affecting their practice. Examples of these pressures include the environment where feeding took place, the support and contributions of those around the woman and baby (particularly other midwives), and the beliefs and behaviour of the woman and baby themselves. ‘Surviving’ enabled midwives to feel that they had dealt with baby feeding in their practice and successfully managed their workload. Surviving consists of four main categories: altering proximities of baby feeding, emotionalising baby feeding, struggling with baby feeding, and directing baby feeding. Surviving is not a linear process that is sequential, but cyclical as these categories are inter-related to each other. However, these midwives’ actions created many of the problems that they experienced, therefore the process was perpetuated. The significance of this substantive theory has been explored within the literature related to baby feeding, workers’ functioning in other public service bureaucracies, and research methodology. Implications for midwifery research, practice and policy are discussed. It is suggested that this thesis could contribute to wider health service agendas such as clinical governance, multi-disciplinary working and public health.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2005|
- baby feeding
- breast feeding
- culture of midwifery