Term Paper: Breastfeeding Among South Asian Immigrant Women

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Breastfeeding Among South Asian Immigrant Women

"Their Future is Now: Healthy Choices for Canada's Children & Youth" states: "More women are now starting to breastfeed their babies (85 per cent in 2003 compared to 75 per cent in 1995) which contributes to healthier babies and strengthens the important bond between mother and child. However, in 2003, only 19 per cent of recent mothers reported breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months, as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Pediatric Society. This highlights the need for more support for women to breastfeed, and more information on the factors that prevent women from breastfeeding." (2006) the work of the World Health Organization entitled: "Exclusive Breastfeeding" states that breastfeeding is an "unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers." (WHO, 2005) Evidence supports exclusive breastfeeding for a period of six months as the "optimal way of feeding infants." (WHO, 2005) it is recommended by the WHO and UNICEF that breastfeeding should follow the guidelines as follows: (1) Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life; (2) Exclusive breastfeeding - that is the infant receives only breast milk without any additional food or drink, not even water; (3) Breastfeeding on demand - as often as the child wants, day and night; and (4) No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers. (WHO, 2008) Breast milk is not only "the natural first food for babies" providing all necessary energy and nutrients needed by the infant in the first six months of its life but as well "continues to provide up to half or more of a child's nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life." (WHO,

Breastfeeding is natural but it is also a "learned behavior" and a great deal of research has shown that "mothers other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices." (WHO, 2005) Towards this end, WHO and UNICEF report having launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative which is focused toward strengthening the maternity practices to support breastfeeding. This initiative has been implemented in approximately 16,000 hospitals worldwide.

The work entitled: "The Impact of a New Universal Postpartum Program on Breastfeeding Outcomes" states that rates of breastfeeding initiation in Canada increased "...significantly between 1996/1997 and 2003 from 73% to 84.5% respectively." (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006; 398) Canada has set out new guidelines in a draft on infant feeding and states recommendations of "exclusive breastfeeding until 2 years of age and beyond..." (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006; 398) Initiation rates are stated to have improved however, there are still only approximately 48% of mothers in Canada who are still breastfeeding at four months following delivery and only approximately 38% are breastfeeding "exclusively" meaning that the infant is being fed only breast milk with no additional liquid, food, or even water. It is noted in the work of Dennis (2002) that the primary reason women quit breastfeeding is "because of perceived difficulties with lactation rather than material choice." (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006) Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword state that Ontario introduced a universal program in 1999 for all women following delivery which is known as the 'Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Program (HBHC) which is a hospital stay and postpartum home visiting program containing three components:

1) all women have the option of staying in the hospital for up to 60 hours after a vaginal birth, (2) a public health nurse conducts a telephone assessment with all consenting postpartum women within 48 hours of hospital discharge, and 3) all postpartum mothers are to be offered an in-home follow-up visit. (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006)

Conclusions in this study state the following: "Breastfeeding conveys multiple health benefits for mothers and newborn infants and is encouraged by most health professionals. However, in Ontario it appears that some women leave the hospital without the personal or structural resources to continue successful breastfeeding. The findings of our study suggest that the provision of a single postdischarge phone call, and the offer and/or acceptance of a postpartum home visit through HBHC, is insufficient support to maintain breastfeeding to 4 weeks postpartum. If one wishes to increase breastfeeding continuation rates, it is possible to address those factors associated with discontinuation by 4 weeks postdischarge." (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006) Stated additionally is that public education on a continuing basis in focused on supporting the provision of knowledge to new mother concerning the integral value of breastfeeding towards the end that women are encouraged to breastfeed and desire to gain the necessary knowledge to make this a successful endeavor and in assigning the proper valuation to these benefits. Secondly, it is critically necessary that it is ascertained specifically what policies and practices in the hospital setting are most supportive of mothers in the breastfeeding of infants toward providing the natural immunization needed for the infant's health progression and healthy developmental future. " (Sheehan, Watt, Krueger, and Sword, 2006)

The work of Ruth DeSouza entitled: "new spaces and possibilities: the adjustment to parenthood for new migrant mothers" states: "parenthood and migration are both major life events which, while stressful, can be mediated effectively in a new country without support, networks or access to information creates additional stressors." (2006) reported as 'key' findings in the study were the following:

1) Migrant women lose access to information resources, such as family and friends, in the process of Migrating and come to depend on their husbands, health professionals and other authoritative Sources. Importantly, the expectations from their country of origin come to inform their experiences of pregnancy, labor and delivery in a new country;

2) migration has an impact on women's and their partners' roles in relation to childbirth and Parenting. The loss of supportive networks incurred in migration results in husbands and partners Taking more active roles in the perinatal period; and 3) coming to a new country can result in the loss of knowledge resources, peer and family support and protective rituals. These losses can lead to isolation for many women. (DeSouza, 2006)

DeSourza states that findings in this study include those as follows:

1) support services for women who have a baby in a new country need to be developed and services also need to be 'father-friendly';

2) the information needs of migrant women from all backgrounds need to be considered in planning service delivery (including European migrant women);

3) services need to develop linguistic competence to better support migrant mothers, for example by providing written information in their own language those developing antenatal resources must consider the needs of migrant mothers; for example, by having antenatal classes available in a number of common languages, eg Korean;

4) workforce development occurs among health professionals to expand existing cultural safety training to incorporate cultural competence; and 5) health and social services staff must become better informed as to the resources that are available if they are to provide effective support for migrant mothers. (DeSouza, 2006)

The work entitled: "A Multicultural Perspective of Breastfeeding in Canada" states: "Culture can be defined as the values, beliefs, norms, and practices of a particular group which are learned, shared and which guide attitudes, decisions and actions in a patterned way. Breastfeeding in Canada reflects diverse cultural norms and practices." (Canadian Minister of Health, 1997) This work reports a study conducted on Canadian communities concerning patterns of breastfeeding and practices of feeding infants in Canadian culture. In the initiative of research in this area this work relates several key considerations stated as follows:

1) There tends to be as much, or more, variation among individual members of the same cultural group or community as there is among different groups or communities. Variations can occur in language, behavior, concepts, interests, beliefs and values, as all are influenced and mediated by individual experience;

2) Generalizations are inherent in cultural profiles and are necessary for discussion or illustration purposes. However, 'they should not be interpreted as representing characteristics applicable to all or, in some instances, even most of the individuals within a community. Generalizations may, in fact, be completely inappropriate when applied to any specific individuals or circumstances without regard to the individual or circumstance; and 3) Individuals from the same socioeconomic levels but different cultural groups are likely to have more in common, including health beliefs and behaviors, than those from different socioeconomic levels within the same cultural group. Some socioeconomic characteristics such as education, occupational status and access to health opportunities may transcend cultural barriers." (Canadian Minister of Health, 1997)

Duration of breastfeeding is related to factors which affect that during including formula being fed to the infant in the hospital and readmission to the hospital as well as infant visits to a walk-in clinic. While mothers in this study were not asked specifically whether breastfeeding was discontinued as a result… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Breastfeeding Among South Asian Immigrant Women.  (2008, May 10).  Retrieved May 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/breastfeeding-among-south-asian-immigrant/625571

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"Breastfeeding Among South Asian Immigrant Women."  Essaytown.com.  May 10, 2008.  Accessed May 26, 2019.
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