Challenges of Conducting a Critical Ethnographic Breastfeeding Study in the Post-Disaster Settings: Lessons Learned

Shela Akbar Ali Hirani1, *
1 The University of Regina, Faculty of Nursing, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK, S4S 0A2 Canada

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Creative Commons License
© 2023 Shela Akbar Ali Hirani

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the The University of Regina, Faculty of Nursing, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, SK, S4S 0A2 Canada; E-mail:


Post-disaster settings are the most vulnerable settings where researchers may face challenges specific to their safety, research logistics, and maintenance of ethical integrity in a high-stress context. This paper presents the researcher’s reflections on undertaking a critical ethnographic breastfeeding study in the post-disaster settings of rural Pakistan, where displaced women with young children were under extreme stress due to recurrent natural disasters, displacement, disruption to life, and homelessness. This paper identifies encountered challenges by the researcher during fieldwork in that post-disaster settings, presents the strategies utilized during the fieldwork, and shares recommendations for future researchers on maintaining research integrity in this challenging context.

Keywords: Post-disaster, Fieldwork, Challenges, Lessons, Ethnography, Breastfeeding.