Breast-feeding practices among Thai women in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: to examine the perceptions and experience of breast-feeding practices among Thai women who are now living in Australia. DESIGN: ethnographic interviews and participant observation among Thai women in Australia. SETTING: Melbourne Metropolitan Area,Victoria, Australia. FINDINGS: Thai women see breast milk as the most valuable food for newborn babies and young children. Breast milk is seen as 'human milk', while infant formula is referred to as 'animal milk'. Breast feeding is seen as beneficial not only to babies' health, but also to the mother's health. Women consume certain foods such as drinking hot water and consuming hot soup during the confinement period as a way to ensure breast milk production. Women appear to know that 'breast is best', but some lack accurate knowledge about breast feeding. They also receive inaccurate information regarding feeding practices from health professionals. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: there is no doubt that Thai women see that 'breast is best', therefore, the main message for those involved in giving breast-feeding advice is to 'make it easy for women to do it'. Only then can health services and care be made more meaningful to the many women who have decided to breast feed their babies in their new country.

publication date

  • March 2001