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'How about we give it a go? ': a case study of breastfeeding support in long day care in the Australian Capital Territory
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:58 authored by Emma Kate Woolley
Case studies of individual long day care (LDC) services have been used to capture multiple sources of information relating to breastfeeding support. These studies have identified components of the service that may protect, promote and support breastfeeding. To date, these studies have focused on LDC services co-located within a university. This case study extends current findings by examining breastfeeding practices at an LDC service located in the Australian Capital Territory's outer suburbs. Families and educators at a suburban service provide a different perspective on the Australian LDC sector with the potential to elicit opportunities and barriers not apparent from university-based services. Extending from a collective case study by Monk, Gilmour and Hall (2013), a cultural-institutional focus of analysis was used to explore the roles of proximity, flexibility and communication in supporting breastfeeding within an LDC service located close to an infant's home (Rogoff, 2003). In-depth semi-structured interviews with service staff and families, triangulated with observations of the service environment and policy documents provide insight into the support environment. This study contributes to the knowledge base of breastfeeding support interventions in the LDC setting to inform future research and policy. The findings suggest some long-term benefits may be derived from selecting a service close to an infant's home, provided their mother can overcome barriers to breastmilk expression in her workplace. Working beyond two-way communication towards authentic collaboration between the service and family may improve a service's breastfeeding culture and help address the gap between service policy and educator practice. Tackling this praxis gap may reduce the burden on mothers in requesting and monitoring adjustments to practice to meet her infant's needs. Fathers provide practical and emotional support for the breastfeeding relationship, particularly during the orientation period. Findings also suggest that constructing a breastfeeding-friendly childcare culture for families may be linked to educators' working conditions.