Writing up your case history
Why write it up?
ABA's Breastfeeding Information and Research (BIR) team aim to collect breastfeeding case histories to provide information on breastfeeding practice in the community and to shed light on the practical experiences of mothers especially in areas that are not well researched. We are particularly interested in hearing about any particular challenges you may have overcome. We often get asked about illnesses in the mother in situations where there is little/no research, this is where case studies can be helpful.
Why are case histories useful?
- Many areas of breastfeeding management are poorly researched due to practical difficulties, ethical concerns and the historical lack of interest in the field
- Case histories may offer reassurance and support to mothers who have problems that the published research does not cover.
Points for consideration when writing up a case history
Tell your story with as much information as seems relevant to you. If we need more information, we'll email and ask for it. We've outlined some ideas of what you might include below, but we don't always need all those details, so please don't be put off by thinking you need to write a huge amount.
- Include details if relevant of pregnancy complications, breast development during pregnancy, include mother's age, birthing details, birth weight, which number child eg 1st/2nd etc, health of mother and baby after birth,
- Course of breastfeeding establishment frequency, length of feeds, scheduled or not, exclusive or not, stools/wet nappies, positioning, attachment, further weight gains or losses, changes to feeding patterns
- Put weight losses/gains in the larger context of a healthy baby - wet nappies, skin colour, muscle tone, growth in head circumference and overall length.
- Health professional (or other) advice, and whether it was followed or not; for how long and what the impact was; how the baby/you/supply etc reacted/responded etc. Include timelines as relevant - can be actual dates, days after birth. Include graphical presentation if it helps to demonstrate the course of things.
- Details of medication given - doses/frequency, how they worked/didn't work, any side effects they caused and how they impacted overall.
- Anything else that was tried or impacted on the situation.
- Include feelings or life circumstances which impacted on the situation
- Include the year of the events so that how the management of the situation fitted in with current theory can be assessed
- include author's name, contact details and qualifications
- Mother's and author's permission to use the case history
- Please remember to include a date of writing, and dates of the experience so that we know how the management of the situation fits with current practice.
Author Acknowledgment and Copyright Assignment
The Australian Breastfeeding Association may wish to publish information from your case history in a paper that is based on mothers' experiences, or in its complete form as a case history, without the use of names. To allow ABA to use your case history we need a signed copyright assignment form, and to preserve your privacy we would prefer that no identifying details are given within the body of the history.
We cannot use your case history if you do not sign a consent form to give us permission and assign copyright to the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
If you do allow us to use your case history, it may be published in full, or be part of a compilation of case studies, or be quoted in a paper on a relevant topic. All personal identifying details such as names will be removed or changed to preserve your privacy.
How to submit a case history
- Download the Case history consent form
- Complete applicable sections of the form
- Email your case history together with the signed consent to the address on the form