Infant-Feeding Among Low-Income Women: The Social Context That Shapes Their Perspectives and Experiences

Julia Temple Newhook, Valerie Ludlow, Leigh Anne Newhook, Kimberly Bonia, Janet Murphy Goodridge, Laurie Twells

Abstract


This article explores the perspectives of low-income women in order to better understand the social context that shapes their infant-feeding perspectives and experiences. The authors used purposive sampling to conduct 3 focus groups with 19 women who were formula-feeding their infants in 1 urban and 2 rural communities in the eastern region of the island of Newfoundland in Canada. Elements of the social context for infant-feeding included the prevalence of myths and misinformation about breastfeeding; cultural expectations about infant behaviour; the postnatal experience, including the medicalization of birth and breastfeeding; partner support and child-care workload; cultural stigma of breastfeeding; and a moralizing ideology that equates breastfeeding with "good mothering." The authors discuss the implications of the findings from a nursing and public health perspective, offering 7 recommendations for how nurses and health professionals might better support women and their families.

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