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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 2 30B 1 Ml603 International Midwifery Elective Sri Lanka andBreastfeeding In order to help broaden my understanding of culture, and how this impacts upon healthcare I undertook a midwiferyelective in Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka is a lower middle-income country in the South East Asia Region as defined by the World Bank (2014). The religion that is predominantly practiced is Buddhism, followed by Hinduism and then Christianity (World Population Review 2014).Therefore these demographics provided an experienceshaped by a very different culture to what I am used to.Immediately it was very apparent that breastfeeding was prevalent in Sri Lanka, with it appearing to be very much the norm.This is a far cry from breastfeeding practices in England, despite the promotion of breastfeeding. Consequently the issue of breastfeeding took my focus. So then, why breastfeeding? As a result of many factors, today's society has become very multicultural, creating diversity among us. Hogg and Holland (2010) discuss the implications for practice as a result of this, amplifying the need for 'cross cultural care'. This term refers to the importance of health care professionals being ableto adapt their skills when delivering care, in order to provide culturally appropriate care, thus ensuring equality for individuals. Exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months reaches an impressive 76% in Sri Lanka (United Nations Children Fund 2010) whilst here in England, it is only 1% (Health and Social Care Information Centre 2012). As student midwives, we are educated that breastfeeding is the 'gold standard in regards to infant feeding, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) (2013) recommending that all infants are exclusively breastfed for up to 6 months of life.Exclusive breastfeeding refers to breast milk only. Cassie-Louise Holdsworth
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