Discrepancies in infant feeding recommendations between grandmothers and healthcare providers in rural Mexico

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Luna, Paulina
Paredes-Ruvalcaba, Nerli
Valdés, Tania
Guerrero, Bárbara
García-Martínez, Angélica
Pérez Escamilla, Rafael
Bueno-Gutiérrez, Diana
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Background: Infant feeding practices are rapidly changing within rural areas in Mexico, including indigenous communities. The aim of this study was to compare infant feeding recommendations between grandmothers and healthcare providers, to better understand the factors that may infuence these practices within these communities. This study builds on research that recognizes the legacy of colonization as an ongoing process that impacts the lives of people through many pathways, including the substandard healthcare systems available to them. Methods: Qualitative study based on secondary data analysis from interviews and focus groups guided by a socio‐ ecological framework conducted in 2018 in two rural, Indigenous communities in Central Mexico. Participants were purposively selected mothers (n=25), grandmothers (n=11), and healthcare providers (n=24) who ofered care to children up to two years of age and/or their mothers. Data were coded and thematically analyzed to contrast the dif‐ ferent perspectives of infant feeding recommendations and practices between mother, grandmothers, and health‐ care providers. Results: Grandmothers and healthcare providers difered in their beliefs regarding appropriate timing to introduce non-milk foods and duration of breastfeeding. Compared to grandmothers, healthcare providers tended to believe that their recommendations were superior to those from people in the communities and expressed stereotypes refected in negative attitudes towards mothers who did not follow their recommendations. Grandmothers often passed down advice from previous generations and their own experiences with infant feeding but were also open to learning from healthcare providers through government programs and sharing their knowledge with their daughters and other women. Given the contradictory recommendations from grandmothers and healthcare providers, mothers often were unsure which advice to follow. Conclusions: There are important diferences between grandmothers and healthcare providers regarding infant feeding recommendations. Healthcare providers may perceive their recommendations as superior given the neoco‐ lonial structures of the medical system. Public health policies are needed to address the diferent recommendations mothers receive from diferent sources, by harmonizing them and following an evidence-informed approach. Breast‐ feeding programs need to value and to seek the participation of grandmothers.
Palabras clave
Breastfeeding , Qualitative , Socio-ecological framework , Indigenous communities , Coloniality of biomedicine
Luna, P., Paredes-Ruvalcaba, N., Valdés, T., Guerrero, B., Garcia-Martinez, A., Pérez-Escamilla, R., Bueno-Gutiérrez, D. (2022). Discrepancies in infant feeding recommendations between grandmothers and healthcare providers in rural Mexico. International Breastfeeding Journal. 17,77. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-022-00518-0