Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Community Health Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Blakely Brown

Commitee Members

Annie Sondag, Dusten Hollist


breastfeeding, breast milk, relactation


University of Montana


The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of women in Montana who chose to attempt relactation. A phenomenological approach was utilized to understand the lived experiences of the 10 participants. In depth interviews were conducted and a 21 item, categorical and open-ended survey was administered seeking demographic and experiential data. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to organize and analyze the data. Most participants reported having good support from family, friends, lactation specialists, and/or physicians. Despite this support, the participants experienced breastfeeding difficulty. An overarching theme was having a difficult baby; whether it was colic, latching difficulties, or a lack of bond with the baby. Most of the participants were surprised they experienced such difficulty and stated their experience contradicted their previous expectations of breastfeeding. It was common for the participants to state it was assumed breastfeeding would be easy since it was a “natural” bodily function. Feelings of rejection, anger, stress, and failure were commonly expressed when participants reflected on their first attempt at breastfeeding. The participants who felt they relactated successfully stated the process was a defining moment in their lives, it gave them a second chance at breastfeeding, and many felt like they were able to overcome those negative feelings associated with breastfeeding difficulty. Future studies could examine the experience of breastfeeding a difficult baby, and what factors are present with women who continue or discontinue nursing difficult babies.



© Copyright 2014 Amy Nicole Lommen