Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Martha V. Whetsell

Committee Members

Catherine Alicia Georges

James L. Cox

Marie Claire Roberts

Stephanie Lewin

Subject Categories

Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Nursing


Breastfeeding, LIved Experience, Baby Friendly Hospital


The purpose of this research study was to explore the lived experiences of African-American first-time mothers at a hospital following the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) guidelines to promote breastfeeding. Breastfeeding rates for African-American mothers are lower than other racial groups. BFHI institutions offer breastfeeding support through adaptation of a set of practices designed to promoted exclusive breastfeeding. Reflection on this experience allows discovery of approaches that help both nurses and patients. The study methodology used is qualitative phenomenology developed by van Maned (1990) with its’ philosophical origin in the work of Merleau-Ponty (2008). Participants were nine first-time mothers who self-identified as African-American between the ages of 20 and 30 at a BFHI compliant hospital. The five essential themes were revealed through the interview processes were professional support for breastfeeding, knowledge of breastfeeding, commitment to breastfeeding, community of mothers, and being seen as a good mother. The Roy Adaptation Model (RAM) (Roy & Andrews, 1991; Roy, 2009) is the nursing model used to understand the African-American first-time breastfeeding mother as an adaptive system with a purposeful cause.