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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

DEARDEN, Kirk et al. The impact of mother-to-mother support on optimal breast-feeding: a controlled community intervention trial in peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.12, n.3, pp. 193-201. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892002000900008.

Objective. To assess the impact that a mother-to-mother support program operated by La Leche League Guatemala had on early initiation of breast-feeding and on exclusive breast-feeding in peri-urban Guatemala City, Guatemala. Materials and Methods. A population census was conducted to identify all mothers of infants < 6 months of age, and the mothers were then surveyed on their breast-feeding practices, in two program communities and two control communities. Data collection for this follow-up census and survey was carried out between November 2000 and January 2001, one year after a baseline census and survey had been conducted. Results. At follow-up, 31% of mothers in the program communities indicated that counselors had advised them about breast-feeding, 21% said they had received a home visit, and 16% reported attending a support group. Communitywide rates of early initiation of breast-feeding were significantly higher in program areas than in the control communities, at both baseline and follow-up. However, the change over time in early initiation in program communities was not significantly different from the change in control communities. Communitywide rates of exclusive breast-feeding were similar in program and control sites and did not change significantly from baseline to follow-up. However, of the mothers in the program communities who both received home visits and attended support groups, 45% of them exclusively breast-fed, compared to 14% of women in program communities who did not participate in those two activities. In addition, women who were exposed to mother-to-mother support activities during the year following the baseline census and survey were more likely than mothers exposed before that period to exclusively breast-feed. This suggests that the program interventions became more effective over time. Conclusions. This study does not provide evidence of population impact of La Leche League's intervention after one year of implementation. In peri-urban Guatemala, long-term community-based interventions, in partnership with existing health care systems, may be needed to improve communitywide exclusive breast-feeding rates.

Keywords : Breast-feeding; infant nutrition; social support; health education; health promotion.

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