Breastfeeding Breastfeeding

You are the registered nurse performing a health assessment on a newborn infant. From the functional health pattern portion of the assessment, you learn the mother is reluctant to breastfeed her baby. How do you respond? Explain the approach you will take to ensure adequate nutrition for the newborn, with or without breastfeeding. Provide rationale for your answer.

The choice to breastfeed or not to breastfeed is a very personal decision made by mothers. It is a well-known fact that breastmilk is the perfect source of nutrition for newborn babies. “Breastfeeding alone for 6 months provides the perfect food and antibodies for the baby, decreases risk for ear infections, promotes bonding, and provides relaxation. It is also protective against breast cancer” (Jarvis, 2016, p. 392). Approaching mothers that re reluctant to breastfeed should be done in a nonjudgemental fashion by the nurse. 

First, the nurse should acknowledge the choice and ask how the mother she came to that decision and respect it. If the choice to not breastfeed is due to the baby having difficulty or is simply creating stress for the mother then the nurse can probe further and attempt to assist. It is possible the mother is in need of further education that promotes breastfeeding.

Regardless of the reason it is the top priority of the nurse to ensure the newborn is receiving adequate nutrition. Discussing the eating habits of the baby, the consumption in ounces, amount of spit-up, burping, number of diapers of both urine and stool, the type of formula given to the baby, etc. are all important pieces of information for the nurse to gather.


Jarvis, C. (2016). Physical Examination and Health Assessment, 7th Edition. [Pageburstl]. Retrieved from