With conflicts around the world contributing to the displacement and relocation of mothers and children, a recent article published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care explored the influence of escape, displacement, and relocation on the disruption to daily life, particularly on young child feeding. From the study, four themes emerged through Ukrainian refugee mothers’ perceived experience of feeding their young children: culturally based perceptions of young child nutrition; breastfeeding during the conflict and relocation; challenges with accessing nutritious food during the conflict and relocation; and food adaptation upon relocation.
It was found that Ukrainian refugee mothers who had been unexpectedly displaced and relocated due to the conflict struggled to provide their infants and toddlers with appropriate food. In a group that placed a high value on breastfeeding, many were unable to do so due to issues in maintaining lactation.
“Nurses and lactation consultants should be aware of and sensitive to the challenges that refugee mothers face while escaping areas of conflict and during the relocation and adaptation process in their new host country,” said Ilana Azulay Chertok, PhD, RN, IBCLC, article co-author.
Similarly, study participants shared their belief in providing home-prepared meals for young children catering to the specific nutritional needs of children at various developmental stages. When accounting for challenges in accessing the necessary materials and food during conflict and possible relocation, parents often need more support in what they can access and acquire to meet these needs.
For those who relocated, the added challenges of a new country and culture posed trials to Ukrainian refugee mothers attempting to preserve nutritional standards for their young children. Through sharing such experiences of escape, displacement, and relocation, there is the opportunity to support children and families through these ordeals when looking at challenges related to children’s nutrition.
The article “A Qualitative Exploration of the Experience of Child Feeding Among Ukrainian Refugee and Immigrant Mothers During Escape and Relocation” was published in the January/February edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.
Jan. 30, 2024