Importance: Occupational therapy practitioners can play a pivotal role in supporting breastfeeding mothers as they transition to and form new routines for this occupation.
Objective: To explore whether occupational therapy programming can assist breastfeeding mothers in reaching their personal occupation-based wellness goals.
Design: Mixed-methods design that involved development of an occupational profile and a goal attainment scale (GAS). After the intervention, participants rescored their GAS goals and completed a semistructured exit interview.
Setting: Nonprofit lactation center located in the suburbs of a large mid-Atlantic U.S. city.
Participants: Women recruited through convenience sampling who had been breastfeeding an infant for <6 mo, who were not currently weaning, and who had met with a lactation consultant at least once since giving birth were eligible (N = 17).
Intervention: Group occupational therapy that consisted of 10 weekly 1-hr sessions. Topics were based on occupational profiles, GAS scores, and lactation consultant input.
Outcomes and Measures: Each participant created and scored three goals using the GAS before and after the intervention.
Results: Data from 14 of the 17 participants were analyzed. The average postintervention GAS score was 56.50 (M = 50), indicating that most personal wellness goals were reached. Thematic analysis revealed that occupational therapy programming helped mothers persevere with breastfeeding, feel more confident as new parents, and value both themselves and their baby.
Conclusions and Relevance: There is an increasing role for occupational therapy practitioners in helping new mothers reach their personal wellness goals in ways that support their ability to continue breastfeeding.
What This Article Adds: Maternal wellness and breastfeeding represent an emerging area of practice in which occupational therapy practitioners can provide new mothers with physical, social, and psychological supports that help them maintain self-efficacy related to breastfeeding and other meaningful occupations. This study provides foundational evidence in support of this collaboration.