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How child health care nurses view a mother-infant relationship: A qualitative study
University College of Health Sciences, Jönköping, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Care, Nursing Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1588-135X
1996 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 10, no 3, 180-185 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Too many children in Sweden grow up under difficult circumstances. Every child should have the opportunity to grow up to be a confident person. We know today that the new-born child is able to influence its surroundings. The main purpose of child health care in Sweden is to reduce mortality, morbidity and disability in children, and also to reduce any detrimental effects on the family. Child Health Care (CHC)-nurses provide continuity and security for parents and children in developing relationships. The aims of this study were to identify how CHC-nurses view a mother-infant relationship, and how they can improve this relationship. Ten CHC-nurses were interviewed about mother-infant relationships. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using constant comparative analysis. The emerging core category was interplay. Under this construct there were two categories; maternal ability and signals from the infant. Different substantive codes were given under these categories, viz. body language, vocal language, poor health, expectations and life situation. In describing how to improve the mother-infant relationship, promoting an understanding of interplay was the core category. Three categories/strategies were perceived; visualize, respect and demonstrate. The results were then compared with the literature. This study indicates that interplay is of greatest importance in a mother-infant relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1996. Vol. 10, no 3, 180-185 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81524PubMedID: 9060790OAI: diva2:553129
Available from: 2012-09-18 Created: 2012-09-18 Last updated: 2013-09-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Support of mothers and their infants by the child health nurse: expectations and experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Support of mothers and their infants by the child health nurse: expectations and experiences
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general aim of this thesis was to describe and analyse the CH nurse's support of mothers and their infants, given in order to form a good relationship md lead to favourable development of the child. In studies I, II and III, grounded theory and constant comparative method were used. The aim of study I was to identify how child health nurses view the mother-infant relationship, and how they can improve this relationship. The nurses (n=10) could, through observation of the interplay between mother and infant, view the relationship between the two of them. Such interplay depends on the mother's ability to interpret the infant's signals and the clarity of these signals. These attributes are influenced by mother and infant body language, vocal language, health status, expectations and life situation, which are also influenced mutually. The nurse could improve this relationship through promoting an understanding of the interplay between mother and infant.

The aims of study II were to identify what the child health nurse believed was expected of her by women who had recently become mothers, primipara and multipara; and to investigate which problems the nurse found it most difficult to deal with and to analyse why they were difficult. The nurses (n=15) believed that mothers expected care of the infant and the family from the nurse, comprising support, advice, and child health assessments. The nurses found it most difficult to deal with obstacles to interaction with mothers, such as motherhood problems, hidden, social, and organisational problems.

The aims of study III were to identify what first-time mothers expected of the child health nurse; and to investigate the help and support that new mothers receive from nurses, and whether first-time mothers felt that anything was lacking. The mothers (n=20) expected the nurse to be a supporter, characterized by accessibility, approachability, knowledge, advice and support. They had experienced most of these things, accessibility and approachability in particular. However, the nurses showed a lack of continuity in interest in the mothers' bodies and health. In addition, mothers who wished to discontinue breast-feeding felt that they lacked support from the nurse.

The aim of study IV was to investigate mothers' experiences of their encounters with the child health nurse. A national random sample of mothers (n=140) reported, based on critical incident technique, support or lack of support from the nurse. Thematic content analysis, including 125 reports and demographic data, was accomplished. Symbolic interactionism was used as a frame of reference. The central factor was that they were able to share the realm of motherhood that the nurse is willing to share all kinds of emotions and experiences related to being a mother. The majority of the mothers had received valuable support during troublesome incidents. Nevertheless, there were several dissatisfied mothers who had expected support but thought that they had received insulting treatment instead.

The aims of study V were to describe similarities and differences in expectations of the child health nurse, as they were expressed by recently delivered first-time mothers as compared to an expression of what child health nurses believed mothers of infants expected of them. Data from the intetviews with nurses in study II and mothers in study III (n=35) were analysed by thematic content analysis. The nurse could be someone to approach, who, through her knowledge, could assess the child's development and give immunizations and be a supporter, counsellor, safety provider and a parent group organizer. Similarities between mothers' and nurses' statements occurred more frequently than differences, which are suggested to depend on the Swedish tradition among new mothers of visiting the child health clinic. The mothers expected participation in parent groups to a higher degree than the nurses believed that they did.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2002. 65 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 715
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-27481 (URN)12135 (Local ID)91-7373-155-2 (ISBN)12135 (Archive number)12135 (OAI)
Public defence
2002-01-18, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-09-18Bibliographically approved

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