In the period from 2006 to 2012, Mexico experienced a phenomenon of abandonment of the practice of exclusive breastfeeding, decreasing from 22.3 to 14.4%, especially in rural areas (36.9% to 18.5%). Although more recent studies show a very slight increase, the numbers are far from ideal in infant feeding practices, and it is considered fundamental to strengthen strategies aimed at increasing breastfeeding promotion, protection and support practices in the country.
Led by a team at the Universidad Iberoamericana, the BBF Committee evaluated Mexico's breastfeeding friendly environment in 2016 and then in 2018. Both assessments resulted in a total score of 1.4, indicating a moderate scaling up environment. However, the strength of the gears changed across time.
2018 BBF Reassessment
The 2018 reassessment of Mexico’s breastfeeding friendly environment highlighted improvements as well as further challenges within the breastfeeding environment since first implementing BBF in 2016 .
Key recommendations were prioritized to continue strengthening the breastfeeding friendly environment in Mexico.
- Policy Brief
- Methodology and Results
- Ensure adequate training for health professionals and community workers in matters of breastfeeding.
- Improve the implementation and promote the evaluation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in Mexico.
- Limit inappropriate marketing practices and promotion of breastmilk substitutes.
- Develop a national communication strategy for behavioral changes around breastfeeding.
- Modify the legislation of maternity protection in accordance with international standards and disseminate among employers their obligations and among women what their rights are.
- Improve the availability of information on key breastfeeding practices and promote monitoring and evaluation of the National Breastfeeding Policy.
- Define an exclusive budget item for the actions of promotion, protection and support to breastfeeding.
- Strengthen the National Breastfeeding Committee so that the National Breastfeeding Policy can be followed in a timely and transparent manner
2016 BBF Assessment
The 2016 assessment of Mexico’s breastfeeding friendly environment identified key gaps within the breastfeeding friendly environment. Key recommended actions were prioritized and presented to decision makers to address the gaps identified by implementing BBF and scale up breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support in Mexico.
- Raise national awareness on breastfeeding, based on an evidence based national strategy.
- Incorporate the Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes in its entirety in Mexican legislation, regulations, and standards to ensure accountability for Code violators, and that meaningful sanctions are issued.
- Extend paid maternity leave to 6 mo to facilitate compliance with the recommendation to exclusively breastfeed infants for 6 mo. This increase may start gradually by first extending current maternity leave from 12 to 18 wk. In addition, design and implement a protection mechanism of motherhood and breastfeeding for women working in the informal sector.
- Establish a budget line for training, promotion, research, monitoring, and evaluation of activities related to the protection, promotion,and support of breastfeeding.
- Include breastfeeding indicators in the federal budget, so that the diverse maternal-child health programs may be officially evaluated.
- Include a mandatory breastfeeding course in all undergraduate health profession programs that include both theoretical and practical hours to develop the skills needed for adequate breastfeeding counseling.
- Design communication campaigns on the basis of formative research adapted to the different contexts using innovative communication strategies.
- Implement a unique information system for the health sector, aimed at routinely collecting key breastfeeding indicators and leading to the generation of information. It is important that the information collected is made publicly available in a timely manner for decision making and advocacy.
- Disseminate the Permanent Interinstitutional Group for BreastfeedingSupport’ssessionstofollowuponthegroup’sagreements and communicate the progress to all actors.
- Among the Permanent Interinstitutional Group for Breastfeeding Support, it is urgent to give voice and vote to civil society organizations,the academic sector, and other institutions that do not belong to the health sector.
For further details, go to http://eventos.unkilodeayuda.org.mx/BBFMexico/.