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Culture and breastfeeding support

02 December 2022
Volume 30 · Issue 12


Veronica Blanco Gutierrez discusses the importance of cultural competence for healthcare professionals and how culture can influence breastfeeding perceptions and choices

The decision to breastfeed is determined by a wide range of factors, including maternal demographic characteristics and biological, social, psychological and cultural variables (Thulier and Mercer, 2009; Meedya et al, 2010; Dieterich et al, 2013). Social and cultural contexts profoundly shape human health and behaviour (Napier et al, 2017), meaning, culture is a powerful element of a woman's attitude to breastfeeding (Wambach and Spencer, 2021), and breastfeeding is intrinsically related to postpartum social support (Okyay et al, 2022). Culture is a ‘socially transmitted system of shared knowledge, beliefs and/or practices that vary across groups, and individuals within those groups’ (Hruschka and Hadley, 2008; Hernandez and Gibb, 2019). In this context, social determinants of health play a crucial role.

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