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I’m working on a health & medical question and need an explanation to help me study.

Research and discuss cultural practices and values that influence what and how infants are fed. What are some examples of specific cultural beliefs and traditions that affect infant feeding practices? Also, describe the influence of acculturation in the United States on infant feeding practices among infant mothers.As I will give to 2 posts to respond on Saturday 

Often times recommended feeding practices are established by health clinicians and backed by nutritional science, however, there are many cultural factors that affect the way many women feed their infants. Rates in which women choose to breastfeed are the greatest factor in differing practices for feeding infants. Despite the type of support and programs offered at the hospital or pediatrician, many women make the decision whether they plan to breastfeed or not before they even conceive. Cultural and socioeconomic factors can lead the women to their decision. For example, foreign-born mothers, particularly from low-income countries, generally have higher breastfeeding rates and breast feed longer than do U.S. born mothers from the same culture. One article reports Hispanic women born outside of the US had a greater likelihood of breastfeeding with the odds of breastfeeding reduced by 4% for each year that the parents reside in the U.S (Sundquist Beauman, 2015).

Specific practices in varying cultures

In Southeast Asia, colostrum is believed to be ‘dirty’. Infants are often breastfed by other lactating women in the first few days of their lives.

In Somalia, colostrum is also frowned upon as any milk left in the breasts for more than 3 hours is considered to be tainted. Additionally, fear of inadequate breast milk exists and ‘plump babies’ are considered to be healthy often leading to overfeeding.

For Native Americans, breastfeeding rates vary depending on urban vs. rural settings. Rural Native Americans may be more likely to initiate breast feeding and possibly sustain breast feeding. Native Americans are said to lack breast feeding education and support, including from health care workers who may push the use of formula.

Preferences and feeding practices cannot be assumed based on a woman’s cultural background. As mentioned above, immigration, support and socioeconomic factors can greatly impact a woman’s choice on how their child is fed.


A mother’s decision to decide whether to breastfeed or not varies from culture to culture. But it has been observed that the culture of low-income countries has longer and higher rates of breastfeeding than high-income countries or the United States. Therefore, promoting behavioral change around breastfeeding beliefs leads to making breastfeeding less than the standard that benefits the infant and mother. Thus, beliefs about food, especially with infants, must be healthy habits. In addition, breastfeeding is hindered in women who are being assimilated into the United States. These findings show that to be effective, breastfeeding intervention programs must consider the cultural adaption of distinct groups as they blend into the greater community.

cultural beliefs

There are beliefs in impoverished areas of Kenya that colostrum is “dirty” or “curdled,” a “bad omen” curse associated with breastfeeding while engaging in extramarital relationships, and a fear of the “evil eye.” This led to a decline in breastfeeding to below the level. There are also beliefs that breastfeeding is sufficient to nourish a child until the age of two years. But this is not true, as medical studies recommend feeding children certain foods when they reach six months of age.

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