Revista de Nutrição
Print version ISSN 1415-5273
BRAGA, Danielle Freitas; MACHADO, Márcia Maria Tavares and BOSI, Maria Lúcia Magalhães. Achieving exclusive breastfeeding of premature babies: the perceptions and experience of women from public health services. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2008, vol.21, n.3, pp. 293-302. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732008000300004.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate perceptions and experiences of mothers of premature babies who breastfed exclusively from the 4th to the 6th month of life. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional exploratory study, based on qualitative methodology. Non-directive interviews were conducted among eight women, mothers of premature babies who received care in the School-Maternity Assis Chateaubriand, a service associated with the Federal University of Ceará in Fortaleza. This study is based on the theoretical premises of phenomenology. After transcription, the material was analyzed and classified into four axis of meaning: the mother's experiences at the initial contact with the premature baby; the support given to the mothers of premature babies by the hospital professionals; the mother's decision to breastfeed exclusively and the kangaroo care experience. RESULTS: The results revealed that each mother had a unique experience of breastfeeding. For these women, the decision to breastfeed the premature baby was strongly related to their acknowledging the importance of this practice for the child's health. However, the support given by the institution and the professionals to the mothers of premature babies, as observed in the analyzed service, is a decisive element for exclusive breastfeeding. CONCLUSION: Exclusive breastfeeding of premature babies is still a challenge for some mothers; however, it is possible as long as there is motivation and support from the family, from the social network, and especially from health professionals.
Keywords : Breast feeding; Qualitative research; Infant, premature.