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McCann, Margaret F.; Bender, Deborah E.; Arandia, Ruben; Flynn, Jennifer; & Colmenares, Erica (1999). Neonatal Feeding Practices in Periurban Bolivia. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 38(5), 427-450.


Early initiation of breastfeeding offers numerous benefits, but in many cultures the first suckling is delayed and the infant is instead given various prelacteal foods. Mothers residing in periurban areas of two Bolivian cities were interviewed regarding their neonatal feeding practices. Virtually all infants were breastfed, but the first breastfeed was typically delayed for more than 1–2 hours after birth; about 15% did not suckle for at least 24 hours. When asked whether they gave colostrum, three‐quarters of mothers answered affirmatively, although some who initiated breastfeeding on the first day answered negatively. Of those who did not give colostrum, many said they refrained because of concern that it would harm the infant. Advice from medical professionals was variously cited as the reason for giving or for not giving colostrum. Herbal teas were commonly fed in the first few days. Education programs should encourage mothers to begin breastfeeding immediately after birth and to not feed their newborns any other foods.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Ecology of Food and Nutrition


McCann, Margaret F.
Bender, Deborah E.
Arandia, Ruben
Flynn, Jennifer
Colmenares, Erica