Implementation of Breastfeeding Policies at Workplace in Mexico: Analysis of Context Using a Realist Approach

Sonia Hernández-Cordero, Mireya Vilar-Compte, Kathrin Litwan, Vania Lara-Mejía, Natalia Rovelo-Velázquez, Mónica Ancira-Moreno, Matthias Sachse-Aguilera, Fernanda Cobo-Armijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Return to work is one of the most significant barriers to breastfeeding (BF). Familyfriendly policies are critical to ensure that BF and maternal work are not mutually exclusive. This study aims to determine contextual factors and underlying mechanisms influencing the implementation of workplace policies in Mexico. Following a qualitative approach, the study was conducted in the following four cities in Mexico: Mérida, Chihuahua, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. Interviews were conducted in 14 workplaces, and included 49 (potential) beneficiaries, 41 male employees, and 21 managers and human resources personnel. The information collected was analyzed through a deductive thematic analysis and mapped against the Context-Mechanism-Outcome framework of Breastfeeding Interventions at the Workplace. Contextual factors influencing a BF-friendly environment in the workplace were as follows: work-schedule flexibility, provision of lactation services (i.e., BF counseling) other than a lactation room, women’s previous experience with BF and familyfriendly environments in the workplace. The underlying mechanisms enabling/impeding a BFfriendly environment at the workplace were as follows: awareness of Mexican maternity protection legislation, usage of BF interventions in the workplace, culture, supervisor/co-worker support and BF-friendly physical space. To achieve a BF-friendly environment in the workplace, actions at the level of public policy and workplaces must accompany adherence to Mexican legislation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2315
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding policies
  • Breastfeeding-friendly environment
  • Breastfeeding/lactation support
  • Lactation/breastfeeding room
  • Work
  • Working mothers
  • Workplace
  • Workplace interventions
  • Worksite


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