Infant feeding practices in home countries and Australia: Perth Chinese mothers survey

L. Li, Min Zhang, J.A. Scott, C.W. Binns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective:  This study aimed to document the infant feeding practices of Chinese-Australian mothers in their home countries and following migration to Australia. The factors that influenced infant feeding practices are also described.Design:  A cross-sectional survey.Subjects:  A sample of 506 Mandarin-speaking mothers with at least one child, who were born outside of Australia, resident in the Perth area and aged between 23 and 59 years.Setting:  Community-based household telephone interviews in Perth, Western Australia.Statistical analysis:  χ2-statistics was used to test the differences in the rates and factors influencing infant feeding practices between mothers’ home countries and Australia.Results:  There were no significant differences between any breastfeeding rates among Chinese women delivering in either their home countries where breastfeeding initiation was 86.6% or in Australia. Full breastfeeding rates at three and six months for Chinese women were lower than recent Australian rates. Chinese women delivering in Australia received more breastfeeding support and assistance from health professionals. In Australia, 78% stated that they received support form their doctors and nurses for breastfeeding compared with 37.6% in their home countries (P <0.001). In particular, they were more likely to have put their infant to the breast immediately after birth (47.9%) compared with women delivering in their home countries (4.1%) (P <0.001). Solid foods were introduced earlier in their home countries.Conclusion:  The Chinese-Australian mothers’ infant feeding practices in Australia reflected both Western and Eastern influences. The Chinese mothers introduced complementary foods earlier than in other Australian studies, suggesting that culturally specific programs will be needed to encourage exclusive breastfeeding to six months.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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