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Background: The feeding method of neonates and babies and, especially, the issue of breastfeeding is one of the most important for public health. Despite the sensitization, the intention and recommendations of the world scientific community, only 39% of babies, on an international level, are fed during the first six months of their lives exclusively with mother’s milk. Aim: The present study attempted a bibliographic review of the studies about cultural practices and beliefs for breastfeeding. The research question focused on whether cultural and social standards lead up to what degree a process as breastfeeding is accepted by the mothers in a society. Method: We studied all articles at the period 1988-2008 in the Pubmed which associated the initiation and duration of breastfeeding with the cultural status of a certain society. The key-words were society, breastfeeding, initiation, duration, cultural status. Results: The process of breastfeeding is often not determined by biological factors, but it is mainly based on the habits, standards and behaviors existing in each society. Views on the function of female breasts, the quality of mother’s milk as well as traditional practices related to breastfeeding are often the reasons that lead to how much this process is accepted by the mothers. Conclusion: Public health policies worldwide must take into account and study the cultural status of a society in order to create favorable conditions for the initiation and duration of breastfeeding.
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Author(s): Daglas Maria