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Breastfeed Rev. 2007 Jul;15(2):5-14.

Influences that affect Maori women breastfeeding.

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Social & Community Health, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


This project aimed to identify the factors that influence Maori women's decision to breastfeed or not. During 2004-2005, a diverse demographic of Maori women and family members was selectively recruited from within a major urban area, small towns, and rural areas. Thirty women who had cared for a newborn within the previous three years were interviewed, alone or together with other family members. All participants self-identified as Maori and were over 16. Women who had artificially fed their babies were underrepresented. Most of the participants had breastfed and their determination to breastfeed was strong. This research proposes a new model for understanding how Maori women are diverted from breastfeeding. Five influences were identified: interruption to a breastfeeding culture; difficulty establishing breastfeeding within the first six weeks; poor or insufficient professional support; perception of inadequate milk supply; and returning to work. These influences occur in a temporal sequence and highlight opportunities for intervention. Factors that encourage breastfeeding are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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