“I’m Doing the Best That I Can for Her”: Infant-Feeding Decisions of Mothers Receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment for an Opioid Use Disorder

Kelly S. McGlothen, Lisa M. Cleveland, Sara L. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Several professional health organizations have made statements endorsing the safety of breastfeeding for women taking medication-assisted treatment for an opioid use disorder. Yet, breastfeeding initiation rates for this population are approximately 50% lower than the general United States’ population. Furthermore, little is known about what influences the infant-feeding decisions of these women. Research aim: This study aimed to describe what influences the infant-feeding decisions of women taking medication-assisted treatment for an opioid use disorder. Methods: Qualitative description was used. We conducted semistructured, individual interviews with mothers (N = 8) who were receiving medication-assisted treatment during the postpartum period. We analyzed our data using thematic analysis. Results: We identified two themes: (a) what I heard about breastfeeding, and (b) doing what I feel is best for my baby. What I heard about breastfeeding reflects the information and misinformation that women received about breastfeeding. Doing what I feel is best for my baby describes the inner conflict that the women experienced. Most of the women in this study desired to breastfeed; however, all women reported that the social stigma surrounding methadone use strongly influenced their infant-feeding decision. Conclusion: This study sheds new light on what influences the infant-feeding decisions of women taking medication-assisted treatment and represents an initial step toward the development of targeted interventions to improve breastfeeding rates for this unique population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-542
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • breastfeeding
  • mother–infant dyad
  • qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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