Childrearing Practices and Child Health among the Hmong in Australia: Implications for Health Services Academic Article uri icon


  • This study of cultural beliefs and practices related to childrearing and child health among the Hmong in Melbourne, Australia, used in-depth interviews and participant observation of 27 Hmong mothers and some Hmong traditional healers between 1993 and 1998. Traditional Hmong beliefs and practices include: taking notice of the birth date and time, placing a silver necklace on the newborn, not praising the newborn, not taking the infant out during the first 30 days, breastfeeding, the infant's sharing a bed with the parents, and a soul-calling ceremony on the third day after birth. All Hmong mothers follow cultural beliefs and practices to prevent the ill-health or death of their newborn infants, but some aspects of these practices have had to be modified to suit the new living environment in Australia. Health care professionals need to acknowledge the different ways of caring for a young child among the Hmong so as to avoid misunderstandings and to provide sensitive care. Hmong beliefs and practices also have implications for health promotion campaigns and can be a valuable source of ideas in the efforts to promote infant health and reduce infant deaths in Australia and elsewhere.

publication date

  • October 2002