‘Not as Easy as Pie’: Representations About Breastfeeding on the Romanian Online Discussion Forums
D.S. Cristescu1, P. A. Petrus1, D. Taut1
1Babes-Bolyai University, Department of Psychology, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Background: According to WHO (2003), infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal health. Still, many mothers opt for formula-feeding and early introduction of solid foods. Understanding mother’s views on the factors that facilitate or hinder breastfeeding becomes crucial for intervention planning. Methods: We gathered mothers’ opinions from 24 online discussion forums (17196 messages). Thematic analysis was used to categorize messages into themes. Findings: Maternal factors that would impede breastfeeding were: misinformation regarding lactation, poor latching on to the breast, low breastfeeding self-efficacy, and (mis)interpretation of baby crying as hunger cue. Mothers voiced their anxieties regarding the insufficient milk flow in direct relationship with baby’s slow weight gain or breast refusal. However, correct information regarding proper latching, avoiding mixed feeding or tight feeding schedules, were key ingredients for success. Discussion: Based on these insights, educational interventions should focus on providing technical information regarding lactation and breastfeeding as well as increasing maternal self-efficacy.