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, Tam Truong Donnelly, Elaine McKiel, Shellely Raffin Bouchal

Abstract: Breastfeeding is known to provide health benefits for newborns and breastfeeding mothers. The World Health Organization and Health Canada recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life. However, the rates of exclusive breastfeeding practices among Arab immigrant mothers are lower when compared with rates for non-immigrant Canadian mothers and mothers in the immigrants’ countries of origin. Critical ethnography was used to explore the contextual factors that influence the initiation and exclusive breastfeeding practices by Arab immigrant mothers in Canada. Critical ethnography, using individual in-depth interviews was employed to explore the breastfeeding practices among immigrant Arab mothers in Alberta, and factors influencing the mothers’ decision or ability to breastfeed exclusively. Exploratory and open-ended questions were used. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with ten women for 1 and 1 and ½ hours . Participant selection criteria included Arab mothers who were within six months postpartum, aged 18–49 years, and who have resided in Canada for less than five years. An analysis of the qualitative narrative data indicated that knowledge and traditional infant feedingpractices primarily influenced Arab immigrant mothers’ initiation and exclusive breastfeeding practices. The findings from this study have the potential to facilitate supportive culturally safe and sensitive interventions that are tailored to address Arab mothers’ breastfeeding concerns and needs, so that exclusive breastfeeding might be promoted within this population in Canada. Further, the research will provide information needed for addressing some key challenges relating to culture, religion, and the healthcare system. Key words: Arab immigrant mothers, exclusive breastfeeding,
Keywords: exclusive breastfeeding / infant / initiation and exclusive / INFLUENCE ON ARAB IMMIGRANT MOTHERS

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