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To explore Chinese mothers’ experiences, emotions and expectations of breast-feeding in public places.
Exploratory qualitative study. Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants and face-to-face interviews were conducted. Themes were identified by content analysis.
Two different geographical communities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, central China, March–May 2016.
A total of twenty-seven mothers aged 23–33 years, who had one child under 3 years of age and had experience of breast-feeding in public places.
Seven themes emerged from the interviews: struggling to balance infant’s needs and personal feelings; embarrassed or natural emotion regarding breast-feeding in public places; effect of cultural and social norms; internalized concerns going beyond actual social reaction; measures to make breast-feeding in public places easier; desire for more public facilities; and expecting emotional support from society members.
More positive social support, favourable policies and necessary facilities were desired to enable mothers to breast-feed in an appropriate public location. Women expected increased public acceptance of breast-feeding practices and support from government health officials to ensure women’s success in breast-feeding in public settings.
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