• An exploration of the experiences of mothers as they suppress lactation following late miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death

      McGuinness, D; Coghlan, B; Butler, Michelle; National Maternity Hospital, Holles St. UCD School of Nursing Midwifery and Health Systems,The University of British Columbia. (Royal College of Midwives, 2014)
      Objective. To explore the experiences of bereaved mothers as they suppress lactation following late miscarriage (>20 weeks), stillbirth or neonatal death. Method. A qualitative, focused ethnographic approach was used involving in-depth interviews with 15 bereaved mothers, who attended a maternity hospital in Dublin. Data were collected from January to August 2012. Findings. Three key themes were identified: (1) suppression of lactation following the loss of a baby: silent tears; (2) mothering; (3) supportive care needs and the bereaved mother’s experience. This paper focuses on the first global theme. The majority of bereaved mothers found engorgement and leaking milk particularly challenging both physically and emotionally following the loss of their baby; especially as their baby’s funeral or wake took place during this period. The study highlights a number of areas where women could be better prepared for this experience. Conclusion. The findings highlight that the majority of bereaved mothers will require improved guidance and support with their breast care needs following the loss of their baby with awareness and sensitivity to their shortened motherhood.