Initiating and sustaining breastfeeding in Hong Kong: Contextual influences on new mother's experiences

Marie Tarrant, E. Dodgson Joan E., Shirley Tsang Fei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The research reported in the present paper was conducted as part of a larger longitudinal infant feeding study examining the relationship between motivational and situational variables, and primaparas' infant feeding behaviors. The aim of this investigation was to identify contextual factors that influenced first-time mothers' breastfeeding practices in the immediate postpartum period. Employing an exploratory, qualitative design, data were collected through unstructured in-depth interviews with 19 primiparous mothers at one-month postpartum. Thematic analysis revealed two main themes: sociocultural and environmental influences, and lactation management. Although the participants wanted to succeed at breastfeeding, they faced many impediments in a society that was not supportive of lactating mothers. Health professionals' mixed messages, life stresses (short maternity leaves and lack of work place support for breastfeeding) and the participants' poor understanding of the physiological process of lactation presented obstacles for continued breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Breastfeeding
  • Hong Kong
  • Infant feeding
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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