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Kuswara K.,Deakin University | Laws R.,Deakin University | Laws R.,Center for Obesity Prevention and Management Research Excellence in Primary Health Care | Hesketh K.D.,Deakin University | And 2 more authors.
Appetite | Year: 2016

Background: The Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding until about six months of age when solid foods should be gradually introduced. Evidence indicates that Chinese immigrant mothers in Australia are more likely to use infant formula in combination with breastfeeding and to introduce solids earlier than the general Australian population. This study aimed to explore Chinese immigrant mother's experiences of feeding their infant to gain an insight into the factors shaping their feeding decisions and perceptions of infant growth. Methods: Semi structured interviews were conducted with 36 Chinese immigrant mothers with children aged 0-12 months, living in Melbourne, Australia. Interviews were conducted either in Chinese, using an interpreter, or in English. All were audio recorded. Recordings were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Results: Eight themes were identified. Chinese immigrant mothers were supportive of exclusive breastfeeding, however breastfeeding problems and conflicting views about infant feeding and infant growth from grandparents reduced many mothers' confidence to breastfeed exclusively. For many new mothers, anxiety that exclusive breastfeeding provided insufficient nourishment led to the introduction of formula before six months of age. Most mothers delayed introducing solid food to five to six months to prevent development of allergic diseases and gastrointestinal problems. Chinese immigrant mothers obtained information and support related to infant feeding from a combination of health professionals, online resources, friends and grandparents. Conclusions: Chinese immigrant mothers in Australia need support to breastfeed exclusively. In particular maternal confidence to breastfeed exclusively needs to be increased. To achieve this, culturally sensitive guidance is needed and the contradictions in advice given by Chinese grandparents and health professionals on infant feeding practices and healthy infant growth need to be recognised and addressed. © 2016.

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