Survey seeks to help Chinese mothers gain breastfeeding confidence

Media release
06 June 2018

A novel study is underway to explore the current infant feeding practices of Chinese mothers in Australia to help them achieve the best health outcome for both themselves and their baby.

The study will explore the rates of exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding duration of Chinese immigrant mothers in Australia and the key sources of information or support they draw on. 

The study is seeking Chinese mothers in Australia aged 18 years or older, with a child aged 1-3 years, that was born in Australia. The mothers, or their parents, will have been born in China (including Taiwan or Hong Kong).

Lead investigator, Konsita Kuswara, a PhD candidate at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University, said that feeding practices early in life were important for future health.

"We know that many Chinese mothers in Australia breast feed their babies initially, but they are more likely to introduce infant formula and water based drinks at an earlier age than the general Australian population," Ms Kuswara said.

"A significant number of these mothers also introduce solid foods before four months of age. However, the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding until about six months of age, when solid foods can be gradually introduced.

"We also know from our previous IPAN research that Chinese immigrant mothers in Australia are more likely to use infant formula in combination with breastfeeding. This may be due to conflicting views from grandparents, or anxiety about whether their baby is getting enough nourishment from breastfeeding alone.

"We do know that cultural beliefs play a very important role in shaping Chinese mothers' decisions regarding infant feeding and infant growth and we want to understand how they can be supported by health professionals, friends and family members.

"The study aims to identify the key factors that will help to equip these mothers with the confidence to breastfeed their babies exclusively, breastfeed for longer and delay the introduction of solid foods to around six months of age."

The online survey will explore infant feeding practices in the first 12 months, so mothers will be asked to recall their breastfeeding practices in that time. Participants will go in the draw to win one of five $100 supermarket vouchers.

Register now at

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Media release Faculty of Health, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)

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