Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Supporting women with learning disabilities in infant feeding decisions: A scoping review

Johnson, Clare; Douglass, Emma; Lucas, Geraldine; Dowling, Sally

Supporting women with learning disabilities in infant feeding decisions: A scoping review Thumbnail


Clare Johnson
Associate Professor in Art & Design

Sally Dowling
Occasional Associate Lecturer - CHSS - AHP


Mothers with learning disabilities face many challenges during the perinatal period including preparing for and establishing infant feeding. Evidence shows that women with learning disabilities are less likely to breastfeed than other mothers. A scoping review was undertaken using Arksey and O'Malley's methodology to understand what is known about how women with learning disabilities can be supported to make infant feeding decisions, particularly in relation to the use of appropriate and accessible images. An additional aim was to understand what further research is needed to achieve sustainable improvements to policy and practice in this area. A comprehensive search of fourteen electronic databases was undertaken to look for both published and grey literature. Initial searches, after removal of duplicates, resulted in 467 primary research articles plus 22 items of grey literature. Following a systematic process, three published papers and six items of grey literature were identified which met inclusion and exclusion criteria, five of which were resources. Little is known about the acceptability of existing resources, specifically in relation to the use of visual images. A synthesis of the grey literature and a thematic analysis of published literature was conducted and confirmed that women with learning disabilities need tailored support with infant feeding, including accessible resources and that there is a need for more in-depth research in this area. There is a high level of agreement about the importance of using easily read visual images within these resources, but little evaluation of the types of imagery used or their aesthetic histories.


Johnson, C., Douglass, E., Lucas, G., & Dowling, S. (2022). Supporting women with learning disabilities in infant feeding decisions: A scoping review. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 18(2), Article e13318.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 28, 2022
Publication Date 2022-04
Deposit Date Jan 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2022
Journal Maternal and Child Nutrition
Print ISSN 1740-8709
Electronic ISSN 1740-8709
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 2
Article Number e13318
Keywords breastfeeding, grey literature, health resources, infant feeding, learning disabilities, review, visual images
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations