Altering Lactation Education for the Orthodox Jewish Families

Breastfeeding is an established practice for millions of women around the globe and greatly recommended by the World Health Organization. To provide suitable counseling on breast milk and breastfeeding, it is essential to comprehend cultural beliefs and traditions regarding the practice.

Apprehending the Orthodox Jewish practices relating to breastfeeding is particularly crucial for health care providers as the Orthodox population in the US appears to be growing. Orthodox Jewish females get married at a younger age and give birth to twice as many offspring as non-Orthodox Jewish females. Some among these families are at greater danger of birthing babies that have genetic ailments, and who may need special attention and continual hospitalization even after the mother has been discharged from the hospital.

In a recent article that was printed in The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, nurse investigators study the Orthodox Jewish practices associated with the provision of breast milk and breastfeeding for an ill infant. The article informs nurses of providing culturally fit lactation knowledge, and proof based guidance on how to cater to the personal requirements of every Orthodox Jewish child and their family.  It is vital for the family to have dialogues with their Rabbi preferably prior to the delivery or at time of delivery to govern needs for saving colostrum and milk, and also, milk expression at the time of Shabbat or religious holidays.

“Personalized, culturally and religiously tailored care, education, and counseling can ensure that Orthodox mothers are able to meet their personal breastfeeding goals even if their infant requires hospitalization at birth,” stated Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, the Helen M. Shearer Term Professor of Nutrition at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). She is among the article’s co-authors.

The article was co-written by Laura M. Candelaria, Ph.D., MS, RN, FNP, from the Molloy College Hagan School of Nursing; and Toby Bressler Ph.D., RN, OCN, from the Mount Sinai Health System.