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Stevenson Center, immigrant mothers, breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is widely accepted as a superior infant-feeding method, offering numerous benefits to both child and mother. However, not all women in the United States breastfeed their babies with the same frequency. Researchers have found Latina immigrant mothers to have among the highest breastfeeding rates of all racial/ethnic groups. However, their likelihood of breastfeeding decreases the longer they live in the United States and with subsequent generations. In an effort to understand these mothers’ breastfeeding experiences, a series of qualitative interviews were conducted with ten Mexican immigrant mothers of young children. The study explores the intersection between immigration, breastfeeding, culture, and motherhood. The findings reveal how these mothers interpret their breastfeeding experiences and the ways they have negotiated their own infant-feeding decisions within a transcultural context. This study finds a number of key differences in women’s breastfeeding experiences in the United States and Mexico. It examines the variety of motivations for these women’s breastfeeding decisions and the role of social support in those decisions. This study also reveals the ways these women have constructed an identity for themselves through breastfeeding.

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