Proposed Typologies for the Dress Needs of Nursing Mothers and Babies and Available Nursing Dress: An Evaluation of the Relationship between Concepts in These Typologies

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McKinney, Ellen
Ghalachyan, Armine
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

In the U.S., the majority of babies are weaned from the breast by the time they are three months old (CDC, 2007) in contrast to the recommendation of “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months. . ., with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer” (Eidelman & Schanler, 2012). Women who feel comfortable feeding in public breastfeed longer than women who are not comfortable (Allen & Pelto, 1985). Practical advice on carrying out life roles while breastfeeding is important and requires consideration of clothing (Mulford 2008). The purposes of this study were to (1) identify and organize (a) dress needs of nursing mothers and babies and (b) available types of nursing dress, and (2) provide practical advice by considering the relationship between currently available dress and needs of nursing mothers and babies. Part I: Concept analysis of the dress needs of nursing mothers and babies. Sixteen scholarly and consumer publications related to breastfeeding or pregnancy were analyzed for dress needs. The unit of coding was any passage on nursing. Using constant comparison, we identified and organized the following needs around the Functional (F) Expressive (E) Aesthetic (A) Model (Lamb & Kallal, 1992): (a) milk production & transfer (F), (b) fit, comfort, and support (F), (c) easy access (F), (d) normal appearance (F, A), (e) non-communication of breastfeeding (E), (f) style and fashion (E, A), (g) aesthetically pleasing (A), and (h) tactile experience for the baby (A, F). We described each need in-depth with representative quotes. For example, “You’ll want to be sure you can easily unfasten and refasten the bra with one hand, since you’ll need to do so regularly for feedings” (Kutzin & Marchant, 2001, p. 54). The created typology of the needs of nursing mothers and babies will help mothers recognize, prioritize, and meet the needs they face and designers create useful items for this target market.


2013 ITAA Proceedings #70 Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, USA; October 15-18, 2013. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2013