Easier, but not easy: Testing a grounded theory of breastfeeding experiences among women with larger birthweight infants

Philippa Davie*, Debra Bick, Sergio A. Silverio, Joseph Chilcot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Grounded Theory has previously been used to explore breastfeeding practices amongst average birthweight infants and these working hypotheses can be ‘tested’ in new contexts. A pre-existing Grounded Theory was applied to the context of women who gave birth to larger birthweight infants (≥4,000g) to understand whether perceptions and practices of infant feeding were distinct.
Design: A nested qualitative study analysed data from N=10 women with a larger birthweight infant (≥4,000g). Face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Grounded Theory methodology was used to analyse data.
Results: A pre-existing Grounded Theory of breastfeeding experiences derived from women with average birthweight infants did not hold true among women with larger birthweight infants. An alternative Grounded Theory was therefore proposed comprised of three discrete themes: Infant Ability to Breastfeed; Attenuating Maternal Concerns; and Reality of Breastfeeding.
Conclusions: Larger infant birthweight is potentially a protective factor against breastfeeding latch and lactation difficulties. It is associated with alleviating maternal concerns, helping to reduce disparities between expectations of breastfeeding and reality, but does not alleviate the demands breastfeeding places on women. Healthcare professionals help to attenuate women’s concerns, however the support needs for women with larger birthweight infants may not differ from existing care recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-189
Number of pages23
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number2
Early online date9 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2023


  • Breastfeeding
  • Grounded Theory
  • Women's Health
  • Infant
  • Support
  • Large for Gestational Age
  • Macrosomic


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