Concept Analysis of Maternal Autonomy in the Context of Breastfeeding

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this article is to analyze the concept of maternal autonomy in the context of breastfeeding and propose a clearer definition of the concept.

Methods:

A concept analysis was undertaken using Walker and Avant's eight-stage approach.

Findings:

The concept analysis suggests that maternal autonomy in the context of breastfeeding refers to a mother's ability to make autonomous decisions using her control, agency, independence, and ethical reasoning. The antecedents are maternal competence, availability of support, nature of the setting, and available alternatives with respect to breastfeeding. The consequences are improvement in child health, maternal–child bonding, breastfeeding decisions, and maternal healthcare-seeking behavior.

Conclusions:

A clearer understanding of maternal autonomy in the context of breastfeeding will guide the development of a conceptual framework and expand nursing knowledge development.

Clinical Relevance:

A clearer definition of the concept of maternal autonomy in the context of breastfeeding will guide clinicians, researchers, and policy makers in protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding globally towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2015–2030.

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