Breastfeeding counseling based on formative research at primary healthcare Services in Mexico

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Background: Breastfeeding rates in Mexico are far from World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations with 28.8% of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) under 6 months of age, according to the 2018 National Health and Nutrition Survey. Formative research has shown that culturally appropriate counseling is an effective breastfeeding intervention. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effect of interpersonal counseling on EBF in a primary healthcare center in Tijuana, México. Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial pilot with a sample of mothers with infants under 4 months of age from a primary care center. Participants were randomized into two groups: 1) Control group, received counseling on immunizations and standard infant feeding information, and 2) Intervention group, receiving breastfeeding counseling using a socio-ecological framework. Changes in breastfeeding attitudes, self-efficacy and EBF were evaluated at 2 months post-intervention. Results: A total of 80 mothers completed the 2 month follow up assessment (40 in each group). The mean age at baseline was 26.4 years for mothers and 1.4 months for infants. There was a 30% increase in EBF at 2 months follow up in the intervention group and 15% decrease in the control group post-intervention. We observed a significant improvement in breastfeeding attitudes (P = 0.0001), self-efficacy (P = 0.046) and EBF (P = 0.0001) in the intervention group. Reported obstacles were discomfort of breastfeeding in public (23%), infant dissatisfaction (23%), pain (19%), insufficient milk supply (15%) and returning to work (8%). Conclusions: Breastfeeding counseling based on previous formative research improved breastfeeding attitudes, self-efficacy and practices in this population. These findings suggest that the promotion of breastfeeding utilizing a socio-ecological framework may improve breastfeeding rates by addressing the needs of women within their varying sociocultural contexts. Trial registration: ACTRN: ACTRN12621000915853. Retrospectively registered.




Bueno-Gutiérrez, D., Castillo, E. U. R., & Mondragón, A. E. H. (2021). Breastfeeding counseling based on formative research at primary healthcare Services in Mexico. International Journal for Equity in Health, 20(1).

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