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'You likes your way, we got our own way': Gypsies and Travellers' views on infant feeding and health professional support

Condon, Louise; Salmon, Debra


Louise Condon

Debra Salmon


© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Background: Gypsies and Travellers are known to have poor health status and access to health services, even in comparison with other ethnic minority groups. People from this stigmatized ethnic group are rarely consulted about their health needs or health service provision. Optimal infant feeding in the first year of life has the potential to improve lifelong health. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore mothers and grandmothers' views on feeding in the first year of life, including the support provided by health professionals. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposively selected sample of 22 mothers and grandmothers of English Gypsy, Irish Traveller and Romanian Roma ethnicity between November 2011 and February 2012 in a city in south-west England. Results: Few women perceived themselves as requiring help from health professionals in infant feeding, as acceptable and accessible support was available from within their own communities. Roma mothers described a tradition of breast-feeding and appropriately timed weaning, while English Gypsies and Irish Travellers customarily practised less healthy infant feeding. When mothers requested support, health service provision was often found inadequate. Conclusion: Exploring the views of Gypsies and Travellers is important to gain insight into the provision of health services for this marginalized ethnic group. This study has implications for policy and the practice of health professionals, in indicating the customary feeding behaviours of some Gypsy and Travellers, and highlighting areas meriting culturally sensitive health promotion.


Condon, L., & Salmon, D. (2015). 'You likes your way, we got our own way': Gypsies and Travellers' views on infant feeding and health professional support. Health Expectations, 18(5), 784-795.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Journal Health Expectations
Print ISSN 1369-6513
Electronic ISSN 1369-7625
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 784-795
Keywords ethnicity, Gypsies, Travellers, health professional support, health promotion, infant feeding, provision of health service
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Article first published online: 3 June 2014


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