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Mothers' Experiences of Tandem Breastfeeding: A Phenomenological Study.

OBJECTIVE:  Despite many benefits of tandem breastfeeding, mothers stop breastfeeding their older babies early during pregnancy due to inadequate knowledge and support. This study was conducted to determine the tandem breastfeeding experiences of mothers.

STUDY DESIGN:  A phenomenological design was used in this study. The data of the study were collected between January and August 2018. In-depth, individual, open-ended interviews were carried out for data collection. A personal information form and a semi-structured in-depth interview form were used to collect data. It was conducted with 13 women who were tandem breastfeeding, 9 of whom had given birth and 4 of whom were pregnant.

RESULTS:  The data obtained from the interviews with mothers who were tandem breastfeeding were classified into nine themes, namely: metaphors, feelings, benefits, myths, facilitators, pathways to tandem breastfeeding, fears and worries, difficulties, and obstacles. Mothers experienced many benefits of tandem breastfeeding for maternal and infant health. In addition, although there was no evidence in the literature regarding the harms of tandem breastfeeding, they encountered many myths about it. These myths increased their concerns about this type of breastfeeding. Mothers could not get enough information and support from health care professionals, and this was reported as a challenging experience of tandem breastfeeding.

CONCLUSION:  Despite many positive experiences, mothers who tandem breastfeed may also face various difficulties. They need a breastfeeding-friendly environment and support from family and health professionals to cope with these challenges.

KEY POINTS: · Mothers experienced many benefits of tandem breastfeeding for maternal and infant health.. · Pain and tenderness in the breasts, insomnia, and fatigue show the issues that should be supported in tandem breastfeeding mothers.. · Some women felt uterine contractions during pregnancy, but none of them experienced abortion or premature birth.. · In the absence of a risky condition, tandem breastfeeding should be supported and the concerns caused by myths should be replaced by proven scientific results..

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