Influence of Cultural Beliefs on Infant Feeding, Postpartum and Childcare Practices among Chinese-American Mothers in New York City

Adele Lee, Lynn Brann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

As one of the fastest growing communities in the United States, Chinese-Americans receive relatively little research attention on their rates of breastfeeding versus formula feeding, and what factors influence that choice. This research aims to examine the influence of elders and cultural beliefs on postpartum, infant feeding, and childcare practices. Semi-structured interviews with 22 recently postpartum mothers who met the recruiting criteria were conducted between July 2012 and February 2013. The traditional postpartum practice, zuo yuezi, presented negative physical and emotional outcomes and maternal reporting of delay in lactation. Early introduction of solids for traditional reasons was reported. The support from husbands and elders were necessary for breastfeeding success, while some mothers had to first negotiate with elders for breastfeeding. The practice of sending infants back to China to be taken care of by extended families presented cultural implications related to grandparents’ involvement in raising grandchildren. With the respect and appreciation for elders and traditions, it is likely that Chinese mothers negotiate between cultural traditions and societal expectation in the western home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-483
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Breastfeeding
  • Chinese-Americans
  • Qualitative
  • Traditions
  • Zuo yuezi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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