Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Scott, Allison

Committee Member/Reader

Vowell Johnson, Kelly



Background: Parents who lose an infant through miscarriage, elective termination, or stillbirth experience perinatal bereavement (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). A bereaved mother’s grief could be influenced by lactation as most will still experience lactation regardless of their loss. Generally, these women are solely taught to suppress their milk production, oftentimes resulting in discomfort, leakage, clogged ducts, and even mastitis (Carroll et al., 2020). To prevent adverse effects, bereaved mothers need a comprehensive list of options and education regarding lactation including donation, expression, and suppression. Bereaved mothers' lactation experiences, education, and benefits are vital areas to be studied, understood, and promoted.

Purpose: The purpose of this literature review was to explore published literature containing information on lactation benefits, experiences, and education in bereaved mothers.

Methods: Three scholarly databases, Google Scholar, EBSCOHost, and the National Library of Medicine, were searched for appropriate literature. The literature review included 15 peer-reviewed articles that pertain to bereaved mothers' lactation experiences, education, and benefits.

Results: The benefits of lactation for bereaved mothers can directly affect them through their physical and mental health or indirectly affect others through donation. The experiences bereaved mothers have regarding lactation are unique but present uniform themes that lactation can promote healing and well-being. Lactation education for bereaved mothers should include suppression, expression, and donation options.

Discussion: Tiny Tusk Breastfeeding and Infant Support program and the UAMS Milk Bank help fill the gap in lactation education and services for bereaved mothers. Lactation benefits, experiences, and the need for education in bereaved mothers represents a gap in literature. Additional research is needed to identify areas for improvement and support bereaved mothers with lactation.


Lactation, bereaved mothers, lactation benefits, lactation experiences, lactation education, bereaved mothers' lactation, breast milk donation