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Perceived facilitating and hindering factors to exclusive breastfeeding among Latin American immigrant women living in Colmenar Viejo (Community of Madrid, Spain).

  • Blanco, Elena1, 2
  • Otero García, Laura1, 3
  • 1 Nursing Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 2 National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 3 CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP-ISCIII), Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain. , (Spain)
Published Article
Health & Social Care in the Community
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2022
DOI: 10.1111/hsc.13503
PMID: 34245198


The way in which an infant is breastfed by a migrant woman reflects her bio-psycho-social circumstances and her process of cultural transformation and adaptation to the host country. Exploring facilitating and hindering factors to exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) of immigrant mothers in Spain is essential for the development of guidelines that protect EBF. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore the factors perceived as facilitating or hindering EBF during the first six months of the baby's life by Latin American women living in Colmenar Viejo, a city in the Community of Madrid (Spain). We carried out in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews between December 2018 and February 2019 with 11 Latin American mothers who were recruited through key informants and snowball sampling. We audio-recorded the interviews, transcribed them, and performed content analysis to examine the data. EBF was facilitated by the mother and her family having information about its benefits, lower economic expenses, family and healthcare system support, certain popular and spiritual beliefs, and the mother's acculturation process in Spanish society. The hindering factors identified were the perception of EBF as a sacrifice, incompatible with working life, with unsightly and painful consequences for the mother, insufficient to nourish the baby and ineffective after some months, poorly supported by the broader social environment and the healthcare system. EBF was restricted by certain popular beliefs, associated with a stigma if abandoned, and linked to less economically favored social classes. Some of these hindering or facilitating factors are similar to those present in the original Latin American society or the receiving Spanish society. EBF is a complex process, with satisfactory and suffering stages, regulated by beliefs and experiences. EBF must be promoted intersectorally by governmental, health and societal actors considering the biological, psychological, social, and cultural characteristics of the mother and her community. © 2021 The Authors. Health and Social Care in the Community published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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