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Social Experiences of BreastfeedingBuilding Bridges between Research, Policy and Practice$
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Sally Dowling, David Pontin, and Kate Boyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447338499

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447338499.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

‘Missing milk’: an exploration of migrant mothers’ experiences of infant feeding in the UK

‘Missing milk’: an exploration of migrant mothers’ experiences of infant feeding in the UK

(p.97) Five ‘Missing milk’: an exploration of migrant mothers’ experiences of infant feeding in the UK
Social Experiences of Breastfeeding

Louise Condon

Policy Press

This chapter explores the experiences of parents born abroad who are raising a child in the United Kingdom. It is recognised that work, paid and unpaid, can pose challenges to exclusive and even partial breastfeeding, and such challenges are exacerbated when mothers are migrants and live in precarious social and financial circumstances. A complex mixture of factors influences infant feeding behaviours, including ethnicity, health beliefs, and financial demands; and the economic necessity to return to work soon after delivery has been previously identified as a factor reducing migrant women's ability to breastfeed. Who migrants are and what is known about their breastfeeding and weaning behaviours are addressed, and the chapter then reflects upon two empirical studies conducted with migrant parents in the South West of England. In this way, the voices of migrants from a variety of migrant backgrounds are heard and their experiences explored in depth. Throughout the chapter the concept of ‘missing milk’ is also discussed, and the consequences for babies, parents, and society raised. ‘Missing milk’ is the breast milk that babies would customarily have received, which has decreased following migration.

Keywords:   migrant women, migrant parents, migrant backgrounds, migrants, missing milk, migration, infant feeding

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