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A qualitative study of Western Australian women's perceptions of using a Snoezelen room for breastfeeding during their postpartum hospital stay

Author(s): Hauck Yvonne | Summers Lisa | White Ellie | Jones Cheryl

Journal: International Breastfeeding Journal
ISSN 1746-4358

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 20;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background There is limited evidence on the use of the Snoezelen concept for maternity clients. Snoezelen, a Dutch concept, initiated in the 1970s as a leisure activity for severely disabled people, involves creating an indoor environment using controllable stimuli to enhance comfort and relaxation. These specially designed rooms expose the user to multiple sensory stimulations combining vision, touch, sounds and aromas. The aim of this study was to provide insight into breastfeeding women's experience of using a Snoezelen room during hospitalisation. Methods A qualitative exploratory design was chosen to reveal women's perceptions of using the Snoezelen room. Osborne Park Hospital, the study setting is the second largest public provider of obstetric services in Western Australia. A purposive sample was drawn from breastfeeding women who used the Snoezelen room during their postpartum stay from March 2006 to March 2007. Saturation was achieved after eleven breastfeeding women were interviewed six weeks post discharge. Data analysis involved the constant comparison method. Results Participants entered the room feeling tired and emotional with an unsettled baby and breastfeeding issues aggravated by maternal stress and anxiety. All women indicated they were able to achieve relaxation while in the room and would recommend its use to other breastfeeding mothers. Two key themes revealed how the Snoezelen room facilitated maternal relaxation, which ultimately enhanced the breastfeeding experience. The first theme, "Finding Relaxation for the Breastfeeding Mother" incorporates three subthemes: 'Time out' for mother; Control in own personal space; and a Quiet/calm environment with homelike atmosphere. The second theme, "Enabling Focus on Breastfeeding", occurred after relaxation was achieved and involved four subthemes: Able to get one-on-one attention; Not physically exposed to others; Away from prying, judgemental eyes and Able to safely attempt breastfeeding alone knowing help is nearby. Conclusion Insight into how the Snoezelen room promoted relaxation also highlights what contributes to maternal anxiety during breastfeeding experiences in hospital. The findings offer health professionals the opportunity to consider adopting strategies such as a Snoezelen room in their hospital or being innovative in modifying the postpartum setting to promote relaxation for breastfeeding women.

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