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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


TOMA, Tereza Setsuko  and  MONTEIRO, Carlos Augusto. Assessment of the promotion of breastfeeding in public and private maternities, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.35, n.5, pp.409-414. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) carried out a study to compare and evaluate the practices of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in public and private hospitals using the "ten steps" of the Hospital Initiative (BFHI) as a reference parameter. METHODS: Forty-five hospitals of the municipality of São Paulo participated in the study. Data on the practices of infant feeding were collected by interviewing nurseries' supervisors of all public hospitals (26), and from a random sample of private hospitals (19), corresponding to a third of the total, during the years 1996-1997. RESULTS: More than a quarter of the public hospitals and more than one third of the private hospitals did not comply with any of the BFHI steps. Seven of the "ten steps" were observed in only two public hospitals. In general, practices of protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding were seen at a higher frequency in public hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that practices considered detrimental to the onset and progressing of breastfeeding - unnecessary separation of the mother and her newborn, restrictions regarding the length of time and frequency of breastfeeding, use of pre-lacteal foods and supplements - are still quite frequently observed in public and private hospitals within the city of São Paulo. Given the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother's and their children's health, and the important role maternities play for an early and successful onset of breastfeeding, it is paramount that the BFHI patterns be adopted by hospitals within the municipality of São Paulo.

Keywords : Breast feeding; Health promotion; Health plans and programmes; Hospitals, maternity; Hospitals, public; Hospitals, private; Program evalution.

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