Indigenous cultures around the globe have strong traditional and cultural ties to breastfeeding (Best Start Resource Centre 2013). Many indigenous cultures value breastfeeding as an important practice that allows parents to nourish, protect and comfort their infants and children (Best Start Resource Centre 2013).

In countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand, colonisation and the resulting destruction of traditional cultures have contributed to lower breastfeeding rates among many indigenous families (Romano et al 2019). Understanding and addressing infant feeding inequities among indigenous populations requires an effort to detach breastfeeding from Western or European understandings. Indigenous world views must inform actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding initiation and duration.


Best Start Resource Centre. 2013. Breastfeeding for the health and future of our nation: A guide for Aboriginal families and communities in Ontario. Ontario: Best Start Resource Centre.

Romano I, Cooke M, Wilk P. 2019. Factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding among off-reserve indigenous children in Canada. International Indigenous Policy Journal. 10(1).