The infant feeding practice of Gypsy and Traveller women in Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust and their attitudes towards breast and formula feeding
AuthorsPinkney, Kate V.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractGypsies and Travellers are described as the most socially excluded group in British society (Van Cleemput and Parry, 2001). Current research acknowledges that this community has poorer health and experiences significant health inequalities compared to the United Kingdom (UK) general population (Parry, Van Cleemput, Peters, Moore, Walters, Thomas and Cooper, 2004). This study investigates the early infant feeding practice of Gypsy and Traveller women in Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust and their attitudes towards breast and formula feeding. These topics were selected as they are currently unexplored in research and the Department of Health (2009) recognises that choosing to breastfeed infants plays an important role in improving maternal and child health and reducing health inequalities. This study was undertaken using quantitative research methodology. Two structured questionnaires were administered. The first questionnaire was completed by all Health Visitors employed by Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust. This questionnaire established that most Gypsy and Traveller women in Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust chose to formula feed their infants and the breastfeeding rate in this community was very low. The breastfeeding rate was found to be 2.7% at birth and 0% at six to eight weeks. The second questionnaire was completed by approximately 50% of the Gypsy and Traveller community which met the inclusion criteria. The Iowa infant feeding attitude scale was completed as part of this questionnaire. This questionnaire showed that Gypsy and Traveller women in Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust had a more neutral attitude towards early infant feeding than was expected. It demonstrated that 45% of the women surveyed had a neutral attitude score. This is significant as research suggests that women with neutral attitude scores are not fixed in their early infant feeding intentions (Dungy. McInnes, Tappin, Wallis and Oprescu, 2008 and Sittlington, Stewart-Knox, Wright, Bradbury and Scott, 2007). This therefore implies that the infant feeding practice of these women could potentially be amenable. This study therefore concludes that implementing focused interventions aimed at promoting breastfeeding could potentially increase the community’s breastfeeding initiation rate. This is important as increasing the breastfeeding initiation rate would consequently help improve the local Gypsy and Traveller community’s overall health and assist in tackling the known health inequalities.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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