Breastfeeding Experiences of Taiwan Nurses on Rotational Shifts

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The aim of this study was to describe the experiences of ten three-shift nurses, with particular focus on how they make arrangements regarding breastfeeding in relation to their workplaces and work breaks. Using a qualitative approach, data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with ten three-shift nurses who had breastfed for more than six months and who returned to work after childbirth. Snowball sampling was used to recruit participants, each of whom was interviewed for 1.5-2 hours. Content analysis was used to synthesize interview transcripts. The following three predominant themes and nine sub-themes were identified: (1) managing to express milk --- finding appropriate times to express milk during day shifts, learning the timing to express milk during night shifts, and expressing all milk from the breasts during early morning ‘graveyard’ shifts; (2) dealing with the conflict between work and expressing milk --- learning to both take care of patients and express milk, coming back to work on time after expressing milk, and finding “good” places to express milk; and (3) viewing breastfeeding as part of life --- being with the baby at home more than being out, turning cars into mobile breastfeeding and milk-expressing “rooms”, and breastfeeding as an accomplishment. These findings can help nurses and other healthcare professionals provide anticipatory guidance to women who plan to continue to breastfeed after returning to work. Study results can provide a reference for shift workers who continue to breastfeed after they return to work.

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