Apr 30, 2024
Shela Hirani, PhD, MScN, BScN, RN, IBCLC
Breastfeeding and Parenting Challenges Encountered By Refugee and Immigrant Mothers

Shela Hirani is an Associate Professor and Chair of Council Committee on Research at University of Reginal, Faculty of Nursing.  Her talk will be on breastfeeding and parenting challenges encountered by refugee and immigrant mothers in Saskatchewan, Canada: A Call to Action.

Summary of Talk:  Refugee and immigrant mothers, who often experience separation from extended family, socioeconomic hardships and social disconnection in a new country, are at risk of experiencing reduced physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  Saskatchewan has a noticeable increase in refugee and immigrant populations with young children and limited availability of healthcare settings with baby-friendly initative (BFI) status.  Refugee and immigrant mothers in Canada are reported to have a lesser duration of breastfeeding, this imposes a variety of health challenges for the young children and makes them prone to poor developmental outcomes, malnutrition and illinesses.  Breastfeeding is an essential and complete source of nutrition to promote young children's growth and development.  Breastfeeding is recongnized as providing nutritional, developmental, psychological, environmental and economic benefits, that are essential to save the lives of "at-risk" young children.  In this knowledge translation event, Dr. Shela Hirani will present barriers encountered by the refugee and immigrant mothers in Saskatchewan and discuss recommendations on ways to promote, protect and support breastfeeding practices of these vulnerable groups.