Factors influencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s breastfeeding practice: A scoping narrative review



      The nutritional and health benefits of breastfeeding for infants and young children are well-established however rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are lower than non-Indigenous children.


      To describe factors influencing breastfeeding practice amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.


      A scoping narrative review was conducted using the Joanna Briggs Institute framework. A search was conducted in four online databases (PubMed, Scopus, ANU SuperSearch, and Science Direct). Findings were analysed using [
      • Popay J.
      • Roberts H.
      • Sowden A.
      • Petticrew M.
      • Arai L.
      • Rodgers M.
      • Britten N.
      • Roen K.
      • Duffy S.
      Guidance on the conduct of narrative synthesis in systematic reviews.
      ] narrative synthesis.


      This review included 9 journal articles, a conference summary and a book. This review identified four factors influencing women’s breastfeeding practice; sources of support, culturally appropriate care, intention to breastfeed and social determinants.


      Multiple social determinants resulting from colonization have interrupted traditional infant feeding practices and women’s sources of support. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have strong intention to breastfeed, their breastfeeding outcomes are impacted by lack of pro-breastfeeding support when encountering breastfeeding challenges as well as norms surrounding the use of infant formula milk. Culturally appropriate care is essential for identifying women’s needs and avoiding stereotyping. Further research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of breastfeeding interventions for this group of women.


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