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Bender, Deborah E.; McCann, Margaret F.; Rodriguez, Susanna; Morales, Luis; & Curtis, Kathryn M. (1994). The Promotion of Breastfeeding as a Method of Child Spacing in Periurban Bolivia. International Journal of Health Sciences, 5(4).


Objectives: This paper examines the inter-relationships among infant feeding practices, contraceptive use and lactational amenorrhea, in order to understand how best to both promote the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) of family planning and introduce other contra­ceptive methods.
Methods: Household interviews were conducted with 400 mothers of children less than 18 months old, in 8 periurban communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Results: Virtually all children were breastfed initially, and in the first 6 months of life two-thirds received only breastmilk and non-milk liquids. Half of the mothers of these young infants were not sexually active and most of the remainder were amenorrheic; only 12% of mothers less than 6 months postpartum were exposed to the risk of pregnancy, but this increased to 62% at 6-11 months and 70% at 12-18 months. Contraceptive use declined from 11 % of mothers of urban origin to 8% of those from towns and 5% of those from the countryside; the IUD was the contraceptive most frequently used. Two­thirds of women had heard that breastfeeding can pre­vent pregnancy; however only one-half of rural origin and one-third of town and city origin respondents be­lieved this to be true.
Conclusions: Breastfeeding practices associated with longer durations of amenorrhea and, to a lesser extent, postpartum sexual abstinence are common in periurban Bolivia. This pattern of practice presents the opportunity for public health providers to integrate breastfeeding and family planning services in order to protect and promote the health of mothers as well as children.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Health Sciences


Bender, Deborah E.
McCann, Margaret F.
Rodriguez, Susanna
Morales, Luis
Curtis, Kathryn M.