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Revista de la Facultad de Medicina

Print version ISSN 0120-0011


VARGAS-ZARATE, Melier; BECERRA-BULLA, Fabiola; BALSERO-OYUELA, Sandra Yineth  and  MENESES-BURBANO, Yuleidy Sandaly. Breastfeeding: myths and truths. Review article. [online]. 2020, vol.68, n.4, pp.608-616.  Epub Jan 16, 2021. ISSN 0120-0011.


The World Health Organization recommends initiating breastfeeding within the first hour after delivery, keeping it exclusive until the age of 6 months, and complementing it with appropriate food until the age of 2 years or above. In Colombia, breastfeeding rates are low due, in part, to the fact that there are many beliefs that hinder its effective practice.


To identify beliefs regarding breastfeeding and confirm whether or not there is scientific evidence that supports them.

Materials and methods:

A literature review was carried out in databases and other sources. Studies and documents on breastfeeding published between 2007 and 2017 and written in English, Spanish and Portuguese were included.


The initial search yielded 235 records, yet only 50 met the inclusion criteria. These studies were grouped into 4 beliefs categories: 3 established by UNICEF (beliefs about the mother, milk quality and baby needs) and 1 established by the authors (other beliefs).


Most beliefs have no scientific basis and derive from false beliefs that have been transmitted from generation to generation. Therefore, breastfeeding education programs offered to mothers during and after pregnancy, as well as their support network, should be strengthened in order to demystify any belief that hinders the effective practice of breastfeeding.

Keywords : Breastfeeding; Culture; Religion; Food Taboo; Protective Factors (MeSH).

        · abstract in Spanish     · text in Spanish     · Spanish ( pdf )