Being a nursing mother

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Nancy Hogan, Committee Chair


Fifteen women who had successful breastfeeding experiences were interviewed using the grounded theory method. The basic social process, or core variable described by these mothers was the process of being a nursing mother. The process of being a nursing mother is a complex process. A mother's decision to breastfeed, how she manages breastfeeding, and how long she breastfeeds are influenced by a wide range of factors.The process consists of five stages. Causal conditions that led to being a nursing mother were found in Stage 1--Making The Decision. Strategies employed by the participants in this study were; Benefiting Baby, Being Encouraged, and Making It Work. Discontinuing is the consequence of the process.The action/interaction strategies attempted in the process of being a nursing mother were related to the attitudes, values, and characteristics of the mother, the baby, and the mothers' support systems. In this study, the range of individual responses to breastfeeding in this study were broad. Some mothers experienced no difficulties, while other mothers experienced many problems. All participants agreed that the strategies utilized to become a nursing mother were worthwhile.Participants in this study unanimously found the process of being a nursing mother extremely gratifying. The ability to breastfeed one's child, to enjoy a special relationship was a priority for the participants of this study.


Health Sciences, Nursing; Psychology, Developmental; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

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