Background: Norway is known to have high rates of breastfeeding, and the majority of mothers breastfeed their infants. However, many mothers experience problems breastfeeding, and far from every mother breastfeed exclusively for the recommended first six months. The purpose of this study was to explore the variation of expectatives and attitudes towards breastfeeding among pregnant women.
Methods: The study was qualitative. 9 pregnant women were included in the study, all recruited through a health care station in the north-east of Oslo. Semi-structured interviews were used. The interviews lasted between 25 and 45 minutes each, and were subsequently transcribed and analyzed.
Results: The participants expressed a strong wish to breastfeed their infants, primarily because they considered it the healthiest option for the baby. Use of formula feeding to achieve better night-sleep from 3 months of age was seen as beneficial. Even though all participants were aware of the immunologic and nutritional advantages of breastmilk compared to formula milk, they still assumed formula would be a better option if the mother smoked or if she had an unhealthy diet. First-time mothers were surprised by questions about possible lactational problems, they mostly thought it would go naturally and by itself.
Conclusions: There are a lot of important gaps and misinterpretations concerning breastfeeding, some of which endanger a prolonged and happy period of breastfeeding in new mothers. Information ante-partum emphasizing that lactational problems are common, and where to seek help, is crucial to ensure mothers receive guidance early enough to avoid disruption of lactation.