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Table 1 Differences and similarities between the infant feeding recommendations of public health staff and Andean mothers

From: Comparing Indigenous and public health infant feeding recommendations in Peru: opportunities for optimizing intercultural health policies

  Public health staff Andean mothers (45 years and older)
Appraisal of breast milk properties -Immunological defenses help protect infants from illnesses -Balance between macro and micronutrients up until 6 months of age -Provides strength and helps infant rapidly develop -Breast milk is a “cold” medicine used to cure “hot” illnesses such as costado, backache, eye infections, and “hot” fevers
Breastfeeding initiation -Initiation as soon as possible after birth to establish proper breastfeeding and a strong bond between mother and infant -Beneficial for mother (contraction of the uterus) and child (psychological and development health) -Follow infant cues to initiate breastfeeding -Infant is full afterbirth and needs rest
Perinatal diet, breastfeeding, and nutrition -Perinatal diets need to be high in protein and micronutrients (iron and vitamin A) -Balance of hot, cold, wet, and dry foods provide strength, return mothers to health, and help produce nourishing breast milk
Introduction of solid foods -Receiving solid foods prior to 6 months of age = higher incidence of respiratory illness and diarrhea -Illnesses suppress appetites and disrupt normal growth patterns -Foods are introduced in response to infant cues -Infant is hungry or infant is “looking” at the foods -Experience of cravings and hunger increase children’s susceptibility to illness
Breastfeeding cessation -Breast milk after 2 years does not have the same consistency -Follow child cues to determine breastfeeding cessation -However, if breastfeeding continues beyond 1 year and 6 months, the child will be “loco” (crazy) “big-hearted” (feisty), “mañoso” (spoiled)
Exposure to environmental factors -Environmental factors such as cold and wind increase children’s susceptibility to illnesses such as upper respiratory infections and the flu -Elements in the landscape (heat, cold, bad-wind, pujyo, and paq’o) enter the breast and “spoil” breast milk and pass on illness to the infant