Who are the key actors in workplace breastfeeding interventions in Mexico?

  • News
  • 08 Nov. 2023
2022 20 Projects FLRF

Employment and return to work after childbirth are two common barriers to breastfeeding, which is why governments and employers alike are exploring workplace breastfeeding interventions.

Yet who is designing and implementing these workplace interventions successfully? 

For the first time, researchers set out to identify the key actors in Mexico. They also looked to understand the influence of these actors and map their interactions, analyzed according to social networks of Advice, Command, Funding and Information. 

Of the 83 actors to emerge from their NetMap interviews and social network analysis, these were the most influential:

  1. IMSS (Mexican Institute of Social Security)
  2. STPS (Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare)
  4. SALUD (Mexican Secretary of Health)

What the researchers found surprising?

Employers and mothers were not among the key actors identified, despite being the ultimate implementers and end users of workplace breastfeeding policies. 

“To ensure an uptake of workplace breastfeeding interventions… it is critical that discussions around the design and implementation of workplace breastfeeding interventions center on women and their employers,” writes the study’s lead author, Kathrin Litwan, PhD Candidate, Yale School of Public Health.   

They also strongly recommended re-introducing a national breastfeeding strategy in Mexico – one with workplace breastfeeding intervention policies built in – to increase chances for success. 

The Mexican government decommissioned its national breastfeeding strategy in 2018. The lack of centralized, high-level breastfeeding support appears to be increasing the number of actors but decreasing their coordination and efficacy. This could also be an opportunity, say the study’s authors, for one actor to step into a leadership role to move the needle on mother and child health.

Read the full article, just published in Frontiers in Public Health (An Analysis of Actors Participating in the Design and Implementation of Workplace Breastfeeding Interventions in Mexico Using the NetMap Analysis Approach). 

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