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Broken expectations of early motherhood: Mothers’ experiences of early discharge after birth and readmission of their infants

Maria M. Feenstra, Ingrid Nilsson and Dorthe B. Danbjørg

Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2019, vol. 28, issue 5-6, 870-881

Abstract: Background and aim Today, mothers are discharged early after birth, and national monitoring shows an increase in readmission of infants. Readmission of the infant might diminish the possibility of bonding and weaken maternal confidence in taking care of the infant. The aim was to explore how new mothers experience the time from birth to being discharged after readmission with their infants. Design A phenomenological and hermeneutic study. Data were collected through telephone interviews. The study followed the COREQ requirements and was conducted in the Region of Southern Denmark in a University Hospital setting. Convenience sampling was applied, and eight mothers were included from November 2015–February 2016. Seven were interviewed. Results The data analysis revealed the following six themes: “Early discharge,” “Being at home,” “Readmission—shock or relief,” “Problems with breastfeeding in early motherhood,” “Empowering or disempowering guidance” and “Back home with broken expectations.” These six themes were all covered by the overall theme: “Broken expectations of a tranquil beginning of early motherhood.” Conclusions Our study points out that mothers wish for a tranquil beginning with their infants at home. Some already experienced problems at home, while others first were confronted at the check‐up at the outpatient clinic. Yet the common denominator was that the mothers experienced broken expectations regarding early motherhood when facing readmission. Readmission may influence the initial process either positively or negatively, depending on how the mothers experience their challenges and how the healthcare professionals support them. This highlights the importance of the way in which healthcare professionals support new mothers when they are readmitted. The study emphasises the importance of maternal feelings of security and confidence in their maternal role, as they are closely connected to the process of becoming a mother.

Date: 2019
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