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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


VANDALE-TONEY, SUSAN et al. A survey of breast-feeding and other infant feeding practices in rural Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1997, vol.39, n.5, pp.412-419. ISSN 0036-3634.

Objective. To determine the prevalence of lactation, the use of industrialized milk and weaning, and the factors related to lack of breast-feeding and early weaning in young infants of rural communities. Material and methods. Transversal study performed by last year medical students doing Social Service in 222 rural communities in Mexico who applied structured interviews to 5 409 families with children younger than 1 year of age. Results. The percentages of children who were never breast-fed were: in the north (N) 21.4%, in the center (C) 7.6% and in the south (S) 5.3%. Children who were still being breast-fed, either exclusively or with mixed feeding by the third trimester were 35.6% (N), 67.6% (C) and 77.5% (S); in the second trimester, 67.2% (N), 40.9% (C) and 51.6% (S) had been weaned. In the N region it was observed that lack of breast-feeding was associated to the health personnel who attended delivery, mothers with six or more years of education and less than four children, dwellings with permanent material floors, two or more household commodities and a head of the family different from the father. Early weaning was essentially associated to the same factors; additionally, to the child being taken care of by someone different from the mother, artificial lactation by parental decision or due to medical recommendation and the use of health services provided by social security or private physicians. Conclusions. Artificial lactation and early weaning are typical of small families, with high educational level of the mother, better living conditions and contact with medical personnel, especially in the N of the country. Children are weaned before the second semester of life and it is therefore deemed necessary to implement health programs which promote breast-feeding and gradual weaning after the sixth month of life among the infant population of Mexican rural communities.

Keywords : breast feeding; weaning; rural population; Mexico.

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