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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 2 50B+ 30B 1 The impact of culture on breastfeeding... Dykes and Flacking (2010) Considering the overwhelming depth of evidence that centers on the benefits of breastfeeding, it is imperativeto ask ourselves, why do so few women choose to initiate or exclusively breastfeed up until 6 months. argues our focal starting point must be culture. Patient Institutions all present with their own culture, comprising of deeply rooted normsand structures governing how the day to day workload is performed (Hogg and Holland 2010). Frith et al (2014) states that organisational culture largely determines the quality of maternity care provided, having an impact on health. For example the organisational culture of many maternity units in earlier years saw the practice of nurserys as the norm. Evidence now tells us this is disruptive to breastfeeding and so we now encourage skin to skin and close contact between mother and baby (Dykes and Flacking 2010). Choice is another example. In many developed countries care is centered on choice. We ask women how they would like tofeed their baby, with artificial formula readily available on the wards. WHO (2014) argue this provision of infant formula undermines womens attitudes/decisions on infant feeding yet midwives are bound by policies and protocols to provide choice to women (NICE 2008). In contrast, choice was not a factor within the healthcare I observed during my elective.It was the norm that women would breastfeed, with the organisational culture being there was no alternative, they breastfed their babies or they would become hungry. Culture Organisational Midwifery Culture is often a complexity that is interpreted in various ways (Allen 2003). The work of Helman (2007) endeavors to describe culture as a set of inherited guidelines that govern how we live or behave within a certain group/society based upon our taught knowledge, beliefs and customs. Given this, to examine an issue such as breastfeeding, it is essential to contextualize breastfeeding within the relevant culture as attitudes and practices around breastfeeding may differ to those of your own culture. In order to achieve this, Hogg and Holland(2010) suggest exploration of three key concepts. Organisational culture
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