Mary Jo Chesnel
Name: Mary Jo Chesnel
My PhD project is: An exploration of the views and experiences of trained breastfeeding support providers who support women to breastfeed in Northern Ireland.
My supervisors are: Dr. Jenny McNeill and Dr. Maria Healy
Increasing rates of breastfeeding is a public health priority both internationally and regionally. Despite high compliance with evidence-based strategies to protect and promote breastfeeding, Northern Ireland rates remain low. One challenge is to increase breastfeeding duration and exclusivity after initiation. Previous research has established that many women cease breastfeeding before they intended to do so, and surveys in Northern Ireland have shown that some women do not feel they receive adequate information and support to meet their breastfeeding goals. This PhD aims to investigate the views and experiences of healthcare professionals, trained volunteers and trained lactation consultants who support women to breastfeed in Northern Ireland. This original study will provide evidence to support a gap in the understanding of these experiences in Northern Ireland where rates of both breastfeeding initiation and duration are amongst the lowest reported rates in the world. In doing so, this PhD will provide the potential to inform future breastfeeding programme and training interventions seeking to improve breastfeeding rates.
Following undergraduate degrees in Food Science (University of Leeds), Nursing (Adult Branch, Kingston University) and Midwifery studies (Queen’s University Belfast), I completed an MSc. in Advanced Professional Practice (Maternal and Child Health) in 2018 whilst working as a midwife in a Midwifery Led Unit. I have an interest in teaching, and obtained a PG Cert HP in 2018 (Ulster University) when working as a Midwife Education Consultant, teaching post-registration midwives at the regional Clinical Education Centre. My curiosity in research has developed alongside practice, in particular what matters and makes a positive difference to women, babies and those who care for them within maternity care services. I was awarded a DfE studentship to pursue my own research interests further, and commenced this PhD study in September 2019.