Maternal experience of interactions with providers among mothers with milk supply concern

Valerie J. Flaherman, Katherine G. Hicks, Michael D. Cabana, Kathryn A. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background. Milk supply concern is the most common reason given by mothers for discontinuing breastfeeding. Objectives. To describe maternal experiences of interactions with health care providers related to milk supply. Patients and methods. Ten focus groups (N = 56 participants) were conducted among mothers who had had milk supply concern in the first month after birth. Group sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed to identify themes. Results. Interactions regarding milk supply concern evoked strong emotions, including gratitude, guilt, disappointment, and fear, and measurement of infant weight was frequently reported as a trigger for these emotions. Some mothers reported that experiencing "pressure" and "guilt" when providers emphasized exclusive breastfeeding led to suboptimal breastfeeding choices. Conclusions. Interactions with providers about milk supply concern evoke strong emotions among mothers. Providers should be aware that how they communicate routine advice regardinginfant weight and formula may have unintended consequences, including discontinuation of breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-784
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • breastfeeding
  • lactation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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