Author(s): Suzinne Pak-Gorstein; Aliya Haq; Elinor Graham

Healthcare provider offering infant feeding education
Photo by UNICEF Ethiopia (cc license)
Cultural Influences on Infant Feeding Practices

After reading this article, readers should be able to:

  1. Provide examples of specific cultural beliefs and traditions that affect infant feeding practices.
  2. Describe the influence of acculturation in the United States (US) on infant feeding practices among immigrant mothers.
  3. Recognize the problem of infant overfeeding among particular groups.
  4. Outline a culturally sensitive approach to elicit personal and cultural beliefs regarding infant feeding and to provide effective infant feeding counseling for mothers from different cultural backgrounds.

“… all different cultures, whether in a tropical village or in a highly urbanized and technologically sophisticated community, contain some practices and customs which are beneficial to the health and nutrition of the group, and some which are harmful. No culture has a monopoly on wisdom or absurdity.” Jellife D. Child Nutrition in Developing Countries: A Handbook for Fieldworkers. Washington, DC: United States Public Health Service; 1968

Link to Journal article from Pediatrics in Review (Authors: Pak-Gorstein, Haq, Graham), used with permission.