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The infant feeding experiences and decision-making influences of Aboriginal women in Saskatoon



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Breastfeeding is the optimal form of infant feeding. It appears to protect children from certain childhood diseases that are over represented in the Aboriginal population. Although breastfeeding rates in the general Canadian population have increased over the past two decades, they remain lower than recommended. Rates in the Canadian Aboriginal population are even lower. Breastfeeding literature among Aboriginals is largely demographic and statistical in nature and focuses primarily on First Nations women living on reserves. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors influencing the infant feeding decisions of Aboriginal women living in Saskatoon. Data were collected using qualitative methods, including face-to-face interviews and prolonged observation. Between October 2003 and May 2004, interviews were conducted with a total of eight participants recruited from the Food for Thought program in Saskatoon. A semi-structured prenatal interview was followed by two unstructured, in-depth interviews at approximately one month postpartum. The researcher's participation in two weekly Food for Thought sessions over the same time period allowed for prolonged observation. Observations were recorded using field notes and interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Observation and interview data from each participant were analyzed separately for dominant themes and then integrated to establish collective influencing factors. Results indicated influencing factors are numerous and varied in nature. Contextual (sociocultural and environmental), attitudinal, cognitive (knowledge, information and beliefs), experiential (previous infant feeding experiences), and psychological influences were revealed. The principle implication of this study for those involved with the protection, support, and promotion of breastfeeding in this population is that there are many factors capable of influencing feeding decisions. Feeding decisions are not static; they are dynamic and result from the complex interplay between influencing factors. The importance or significance of any single factor is a reflection of the circumstances surrounding the particular feeding decision.



Native Women - Canada - Saskatoon - Saskatoon, Indigenous Women - Canada - Saskatoon, Aboriginal Women - Canada - Saskatoon, Breastfeeding - Case Studies, Newborn infants - Nutrition



Master of Science (M.Sc.)






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