Challenges of Early Motherhood: Breastfeeding Difficulties and Life Satisfaction


  • Željka Buturović Centre for Politicological Research and Public Opinion, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Suzana Ignjatović Centre for Politicological Research and Public Opinion, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Mirjana Rašević Demographic Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade (Serbia)



breastfeeding, life satisfaction, Serbia, infant feeding, lactivism


Many studies have looked at benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and, less frequently, the mother. Though many women find breastfeeding difficult, few studies have looked at the potential costs of breastfeeding for this group. From January 19th 2015 through April 18th 2015, the total of 1,980 Serbian mothers completed an on-line survey consisting of 74 questions which addressed their satisfaction with various areas of life. Mothers were divided into four groups depending on their breastfeeding experience: those who enjoy breastfeeding (Group 1), those who breastfeed despite finding it difficult (Group 2), those who do not breastfeed because they find it difficult, but otherwise would (Group 3) and those who do not breastfeed because “it is their choice” (Group 4). There were 1,238 women (53.2%) in Group, 1, 546 (23.4%) in Group 2, 147 (6.3%) in Group 3 and 49 (2.1%) in Group 4. Group 2 scored lower than Group 1 on 25 out of 26 indicators of satisfaction. When these 26 indicators were averaged, there was a significant difference in the average scores between Group 1 (M = 6.87, SD = 1.10) and Group 2 (M = 6.33, SD = 1.20). Group 3 scored higher than Group 2 on 19 out of 26 indicators. There is a remarkably consistent difference in satisfaction across many areas of life between women who breastfeed joyfully and those who do it out of a sense of duty. As public pressure on women to breastfeed mounts, distinction between these two kinds of breastfeeding experiences should be kept in mind.


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How to Cite

Buturović, Željka, Ignjatović, S., & Rašević, M. (2016). Challenges of Early Motherhood: Breastfeeding Difficulties and Life Satisfaction. Stanovništvo, 54(1), 1–14.