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3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES
In recent years, breastfeeding has become the focus of public health in Ireland. Previous research has reported significant differences in breastfeeding initiation rates among Irish mothers (47.1%) and non-Irish mothers (79.6%) living in Ireland(1). While attitudes towards breastfeeding among Irish mothers have been previously described(2), such information on non-nationals is lacking, particularly among Chinese residing in Ireland. This study was undertaken to fill this information gap, describing the maternal attitudes towards breastfeeding among Chinese mothers living in Ireland. A cross-sectional self-administrated survey was conducted. Questionnaires (written in Chinese) were distributed to the Chinese mothers, mainly via Chinese supermarkets and Chinese language schools in Ireland. Quantitative data were obtained from 343 mailed questionnaires. Participants were mainly born in mainland China (80.6%), aged between 30 and 39 years (48.7%), had tertiary education (50.4%), and had been in Ireland for more than 5 years (69.6%). Although 76.7% of the mothers had breastfed their child, only 13 mothers (4.9% of the breastfeeding mothers) exclusively breastfed till 3 months. The majority of the Chinese mothers were aware of the benefit and advantages of breastfeeding (Table). Most of the subjects (78.7%) believed that breast-milk could be enriched by consuming a special diet. And some traditional Chinese food was largely believed (82.9%) to be able to help improve breast-milk production. Meanwhile some misconceptions of breastfeeding were prevalent. Over 58% of the subjects agreed that the mother should not breastfeed if she catches a cold. And nearly half of the subjects agreed that infant formula should be fed to all newborns until their mother’s milk comes in. The cultural believe of the importance of the special Chinese diet was widely accepted among Chinese mothers living in Ireland. Aside from certain cultural influences, some misconceptions of breastfeeding practices should be corrected to ensure a higher exclusive breastfeeding rate among the Chinese. 1. Tarrant RC & Kearney JM (2008) Proc Nutr Soc 67, 371-380. 2. Zhou Q, Younger KM & Kearney JM (2008) Proc Nutr Soc 67, E432.
Zhou Q, Younger KM & Kearney JM (2009) Attitudes towards breastfeeding among a sample of Chinese mothers living in Ireland. Proc Nutr Soc 68, E123.