Adele Lee

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition Science and Dietetics


Brann, Lynn


Chinese Americans, infant feeding

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences


As the fastest growing Asian subgroup, Chinese-Americans have received limited attention on their rates of breastfeeding versus formula feeding, and what factors influence that choice. For this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 Chinese postpartum mothers to explore factors that influenced feeding choices and the challenges they faced in raising young children in New York City. In order to examine infant feeding experiences and maternal health among Chinese mothers in the United States (US), this study explored the support Chinese mothers received at the hospital, at home, and at work. The Social Cognitive Theory was used to explore factors that affected the decision-making process. While the benefits of breastfeeding were generally recognized by mothers, those who had previously given birth in China reported that the breastfeeding durations were shorter in the US due to the perception of enhanced safety and quality of formula in the US. Breastfeeding difficulties such as insufficient breast milk supply and problems with their infants latching on were among the most reported problems and post-hospitalization lactation support was found to be helpful for mothers who had access to the service. Breastfeeding barriers, such as potential delay in initiation of breastfeeding due to lack of support and the language barrier, were reported in the hospital. Maternal education related to the timing of introduction of solid foods was thought to be lacking or inconsistent. The tradition postpartum practice zuo yuezi was common and mothers reported both positive and negative aspects of this practice. Support from both husbands and elders was found to be important and mothers reported that husbands' support for achieving breastfeeding success was the most important. Some elders were in support of breastfeeding while others supported formula feeding in order to lessen stress and demand on the mothers. While previous studies have examined the impact of reverse-migration, or transnational parenting, on childhood and family development, its influence on infant feeding choices is explored here for the first time. The present study sheds some light on some of the current infant feeding and maternal postpartum practices among Chinese mothers in the US. These findings are intended to help guide future studies on developing educational and policy interventions in order to address the needs for improving breastfeeding experience among new Chinese mothers


Open Access