Lactation after infant death : An analysis of Australian healthcare agencies’ online health information

Journal article


Sweeney, Lara, Carroll, Katherine, Noble-Carr, Debbie and Waldby, Catherine. (2020). Lactation after infant death : An analysis of Australian healthcare agencies’ online health information. Health Sociology Review. 29(1), pp. 45-61. https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2019.1708206
AuthorsSweeney, Lara, Carroll, Katherine, Noble-Carr, Debbie and Waldby, Catherine
Abstract

Lactation is a potent signifier of maternal love and care commonly associated with early motherhood and infant survival. It is common, however, for bereaved mothers who have recently undergone miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death to produce breastmilk. Drawing on a critical feminist lens that seeks to understand how maternal subjectivities and lactation norms are constructed through public and reproductive health information, this article tests whether lactation management options after stillbirth and infant death are comprehensively covered in Australia’s health organisations’ online information. A qualitative directed content analysis was conducted to critique the information provided on 21 Australian websites. Information extracted from websites was compared to a ‘best-practice’ Lactation After Infant Death (AID) Framework developed by the research team for the review. We found a notable absence of comprehensive lactation management information targeted directly to bereaved mothers. Moreover, the most common lactation option presented for women without a living infant was lactation suppression. This dearth of appropriate and comprehensive lactation information curtails maternal subjectivies and diverse lactation practices and further isolates women dealing with the painful contradictions of lactation after loss.

KeywordsAustralia; breast milk; critical public health; health information; infant death; women’s health
Year2020
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Journal citation29 (1), pp. 45-61
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1446-1242
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2019.1708206
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85078612402
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range45-61
FunderAustralian Research Council
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Jan 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Dec 2019
Deposited02 Sep 2021
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DP180100517
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