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Infant feeding practices and postnatal depression of South Asian women living in the United Kingdom

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posted on 03.09.2014, 10:56 authored by Sayeda Z. Noor
The work reported in this thesis deals with the infant feeding practices and postnatal depression of South Asian women living in the United Kingdom. It is made up of two independent studies - the first one is conducted on the Bangladeshi women living in Loughborough with particular emphasis on infant feeding while the second one is conducted on essentially the Bangladeshi and the Pakistani women living in the Sure Start Westgate area of Newcastle Upon Tyne with particular interest in maternal mental health. The methodology of the work involves questionnaire surveys on women in Loughborough and Newcastle (n=28 and n=86 respectively). In addition to these, qualitative data were collected during home visits and focus group discussions for mothers. Both of these groups are relatively disadvantaged in terms of mcome, employment and education with the Newcastle group being slightly worse off. Findings from the study highlight the complexity of infant feeding practices for this group of women. Although some specific observations such as delayed initiation of breastfeeding, earlier (than recommended) introduction of solid food or the presence of smokers in a household etc. may possibly be explained by lack of education and poorer knowledge of English, but the impact of socio-cultural and religious influences, which are found to be very dominant, is not so obvious. An interesting, and previously unreported, significant association has been found between infant feeding methods and depression indicators. Contrary to popular beliefs, gender of the child is not a significant matter in general, but shows some association with the feeding method. Belief in supernatural forces and incidence of traditional practices are associated with ethnicity and the mothers' place of birth. In terms of health service and community support there are areas of concern, such as: low attendance at antenatal classes; communication problems due to language and lack of articulation and the attitude of both health professionals and mothers in respect of understanding of each other's culture. The study highlights the importance of educating the whole community, instead of only the mothers, to raise awareness of better infant feeding, to lead a healthier lifestyle and to prevent misconceptions. Both the mothers and health professionals share the joint responsibility of improving the scenario of service delivery and uptake.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Sayeda Zaika Noor

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Masters Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy of Loughborough University.



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