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An exploration of factors influencing the initiation of breastfeeding among South Asian immigrant women Mann, Manvinder Tung


There is some evidence suggesting that the rate of breastfeeding initiation is lower among particular ethnic or cultural groups who have immigrated to Canada and South Asian women comprise one of these groups. Given the evidence that breastfeeding is important in promoting infant health and maternal health, it is important to understand factors that influence breastfeeding initiation among South Asian immigrant women. This descriptive exploratory study investigated the following research question: What are South Asian women's perceptions about the social, socio-economic, personal and acculturation factors that influence their initiation of breastfeeding? The study explored factors that could influence the initiation of breastfeeding among primiparous South Asian immigrant women who have immigrated to Canada. It was informed in part by the conceptual framework used by Kong and Lee (2004), whose study investigated factors that influenced 252 first-time mothers in their decision-making about whether or not to breastfeed. A convenience sample of 15 subjects was interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide with 10 questions. Data were transcribed and analyzed using inductive constant comparative analysis. The following themes emerged: the representation of breastfeeding, vicarious learning about breastfeeding, family influences, spiritual connection, breaking with tradition, resisting the moral mandate, deferring to medical authority, transition to work and cultural mores. With respect to the findings, implications are discussed for nursing research, theory and education.

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