Presentation Information

Elaine Burns

Liquid Gold from the Milk Bar: Health Professional Language and Practices When Providing Breastfeeding Support

  • Speaker: Elaine Burns , RM, RN, PhD
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU

The language and practices of health professionals can impact upon how a woman feels about breastfeeding and her breastfeeding baby. This presentation will report on the observed, and audio recorded, language used by health professionals during the early establishment phase of breastfeeding. Much of the language positioned breastfeeding as the mechanical production of nutritious fluid rather than a relational interaction between mother and baby. At times the infant was positioned as an antagonistic being with the capacity to ‘think and decide’ whether to cooperate with breastfeeding. An alternative discourse emerged from a more relationship-focused approach to breastfeeding support. This presentation will report on projects which have included the observation of interactions between breastfeeding women and midwives, and/or lactation consultants and/or trained breastfeeding peer supporters. Exemplars of best practice for health professionals, and peer supporters, who provide breastfeeding support during the early establishment of breastfeeding, will be provided.