Photo by Iain McLellan for AED, FANTA Project  

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: [pronut-hiv] exclusive breastfeeding and grandparents in BURKINA FASO (3)

  • From: "Cori Mazzeo" <>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 15:41:38 -0400

I have heard of involving grandmothers in the postnatal period (I imagine because in some cases the mother-in-law comes to stay with the family after the baby is born). I am also very interested to hear if anyone has experience doing this in ANC.

In KZN, a few health workers have told me that sometimes when mothers say they are afraid the grandmother will interfere with how they feed the baby, the HW encourages the mother to bring the grandmother to the clinic when they come for infant immunization (or to ask the grandmother to bring the infant if the mother must return to work). The HWs then use this opportunity to talk about infant feeding with the grandmother present. At the sites where I heard this, the HWs said it was effective in ensuring exclusive feeding practices because the grandmothers view the health workers as authority figures and will do what they say.

I find this quite interesting... the authority/power of a health worker's word vs. the strength of cultural practices. Has anyone experienced this elsewhere?

Cori Mazzeo
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

-----Ann Burgess wrote:

Why not involve the grandmother/s during the ante-natal period? Has anyone any experience of doing this?
Ann Burgess

--- Ted Greiner wrote:

This is a very common experience. Exclusive breastfeeding is not traditional (except maybe in Rwanda and nearby areas) and thus grandparents are suspicious of it. Generally, a mother in law insists that a young mother feed her baby the way its father was fed. Mothers who deviate know they will be in big trouble if something goes wrong (but not if they do what the mother in law says).

Perhaps the best way to overcome this barrier is to involve the father in the feeding decision. Generally men do not perceive this as a part of life they need to be involved in, but when exclusive breastfeeding is explained to them, along with the fact that their mother did not feed that way, they can step in and "defend" their wife against their mother.

Ted Greiner, PhD
Professor of Nutrition
Hanyang University
Seoul Korea
skype name: tedgreiner

Message: 2
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 13:05:35 -0400
From: "Rachel Stern" <>
Subject: Re: [pronut-hiv] BURKINA FASO: The path to mother's milk is
paved withkola nuts (2)
To: "Nutrition and HIV/AIDS" <>
Message-ID: <29490C4460544241BDCD4FB4993D5EFB@rachael1>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Oh those meddlesome grandparents again, always thinking they know better
than the health experts. Or maybe they are confusing current guidelines
(exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months) with previous official ones of a few years ago that were exclusive breastfeeding for 4 to 6 months.

Rachel Stern