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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 133–136 | Cite as

Cree Infant Care Practices and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • C. Elizabeth WilsonEmail author
Article

Abstract

Objective: To identify contemporary Cree infant care practices and any risk factors associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Methods: A questionnaire conducted and recorded in the homes of 70 Cree women (83% of sample available) with infants under 12 months of age, living full time on a Cree reserve. Participatory observation was also used with mothers who agreed to demonstrate certain features of Cree infant care.

Findings: 70% of mothers initiated breastfeeding and 43% nursed from 6 to 15 months. Cree infants are tightly swaddled and placed in a supine position for sleeping. Prenatal care is seldom utilized because of cultural beliefs that planning ahead constitutes bad luck during birth or results in deformed infants.

Conclusions: Existing infant care practices include several that are considered protective to an infant in terms of reducing vulnerability to SIDS. Swaddling infants in very warm houses and smoking during pregnancy could contribute to a higher SIDS incidence.

Résumé

Objectif: Répertorier les pratiques de puériculture cries et les facteurs de risque associés au syndrome de la mort subite du nourrisson (MSN).

Méthode: On a administré un questionnaire, dont on a enregistré les réponses, aux domiciles de 70 Cries (83 % de l’échantillon disponible) ayant des nourrissons de moins de 12 mois et vivant à plein temps sur une réserve crie. En outre, on a activement observé les mères qui ont accepté de faire la démonstration de certains aspects des soins aux nourrissons chez les Cris.

Résultats: 70 % des mères ont commencé d’allaiter, et 43 % ont continué pendant 6 à 15 mois. Les nourrissons cris sont étroitement emmaillotés et placés sur le dos pour dormir. Les soins prénatals sont rares, car selon les croyances culturelles, les projets d’avenir portent malheur durant l’accouchement ou sont la cause des difformités chez les nourrissons.

Conclusions: Parmi les pratiques de puériculture en vigueur, on estime que plusieurs protègent le nourrisson en réduisant sa vulnérabilité à la MSN. Par contre, l’emmaillotement dans des maisons surchauffées et le tabagisme durant la grossesse pourraient contribuer à l’incidence accrue de la MSN.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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