Conversations with Argentinean mothers about breastfeeding
Today the benefits of breastfeeding are well known. WHO estimates that increasing the duration of exclusive breastfeeding may reduce child mortality with 13% and recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and in addition to other foodstuffs for 2 years. Today only 36% of children worldwide are exclusively breastfed at 6 months and 56% receive breast milk at the age of 2 years. In Argentina the statistics are similar, 50% of all children are breastfed upon discharge from hospital and only 36% at 6 months of age.
The University of Oslo and Universidad de Buenos Aires have established a research collaboration where one of the goals is to improve breastfeeding skills among doctors by implementing educational tools in hospitals and universities. To accomplish this, one must discover attitudes towards breastfeeding among mothers who breastfeed and do not breastfeed, so that the education is targeted where it is needed. This aim of this project was to contribute to this by investigating beliefs and attitudes towards breastfeeding among mothers at two primary health care centers in Buenos Aires.
A structured interview guide was designed in collaboration with The National Research Center for Breastfeeding and Grorud Health Center. 17 mothers with children up to 6-7 months where interviewed at two different health care centers in Buenos Aires. The mothers were recruited at random by their attending physician when they visited the center for other purposes.
Of the mothers interviewed, 16 out of 17 breastfed their infant. They where positive towards breastfeeding, recognizing it as the optimal feeding choice for children up to 6 months. There were several other favorable factors present when compared to other studies. However, their knowledge and skills were not elaborate and they did not seem confident in their knowledge, making them vulnerable for breastfeeding cessation when facing troubles. In light of theory of transactional analysis the asymmetrical doctor-patient relationship may in part explain and possibly maintain their lack of independence.