Intimate partner violence, breastfeeding, breastmilk substitutes and baby bottle use in the first year of life

Raquel de Souza Mezzavilla Gabriela Vasconcellos de Barros Vianna Ana Cristina Lindsay Maria Helena Hasselmann About the authors

Resumo

O objetivo deste artigo é investigar a relação da violência física entre parceiros íntimos (VFPI) e a oferta de leite materno (LM), os substitutos do leite materno (SLM) e o uso de mamadeiras entre crianças entre 12 e 15 meses. Estudo transversal com mães em unidades de saúde do município do Rio de Janeiro, realizado entre junho de 2005 e dezembro de 2009. A VFPI foi identificada pela versão brasileira da Conflict Tactics Scales 1- Form R e as práticas de alimentação foram identificadas por recordatório de 24 horas. As associações foram verificadas por regressão logística mediante estimativas de razão de chances (RC) e intervalos de confiança de 95%. O leite materno foi ofertado a 58,5% das crianças e os substitutos do leite materno a 88,5%, e 70,5% das crianças usavam mamadeira. A violência física foi observada em 26,7% dos casais. Em lares onde os casais se agridem fisicamente há uma maior chance de não ofertar leite materno, maior chance de ofertar substitutos do leite materno e de usar mamadeira comparado aos lares onde não existe violência física. Os resultados chamam atenção para a necessidade de se investigar as relações intrafamiliares em casos que são identificadas práticas inadequadas de aleitamento, e de capacitar os profissionais de saúde para apoiar as famílias em situações de conflito.

Palavras-chave:
Aleitamento materno; Violência doméstica; Alimentação artificial.

Abstract

This article aims to investigate the relationship between intimate partner physical violence (IPPV) and breastfeeding (BF), use of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) and bottle-feeding among children aged 12 to 15 months. This is a cross-sectional study with mothers in primary care facilities of the city of Rio de Janeiro. IPPV was identified by the Brazilian version of the Conflict Tactics Scales 1-Form R and feeding practices were identified by a 24-hour Dietary Recall. Associations were verified by logistic regression with odds ratio (OR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals. BF was offered to 58.5% of the children and BMS to 88.5%. Also, 70.5% of the children used a baby bottle. Physical violence was observed in 26.7% of couples. Households where couples physically abuse each other are more likely to not breastfeed (OR=2.14, p-value=0.030), to use breastmilk substitutes (OR=5.15, p-value=0.03) and bottle-feed (OR=2.71; p-value=0.01), when compared to households without physical violence. The results highlight the need to investigate intrafamily relationships in cases where inadequate breastfeeding practices are identified, and to enable health professionals to support families in conflict situations.

Key words:
Breastfeeding; Domestic violence; Bottle-feeding.

Introduction

Breastfeeding has been proven as the ideal feeding practice to promote child growth and development, and is recommended exclusively for the first six months of life and should be continued up to two years of age - or older - while complemented with healthy foods11 Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, França GVA, Horton S, Krasevec J, Murch S, Sankar MJ, Walker N, Rollins NC. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. The Lancet 2016; 387 (10017):475-490.. Nonetheless, data from national studies reveals that, in the first month of life, 18% of children already consumed water, teas and other types of milk, and, before the age of six months, salty food and fruits are already introduced. Similarly, the late introduction of food is also observed22 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Pesquisa nacional de demografia e saúde da criança e da mulher. Secretaria de Ciência, Tecnologia e Insumos Estratégicos Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia. Brasília: MS, 2008.

3 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Saúde da criança: nutrição infantil. Aleitamento materno e alimentação complementar. Séria A, normas e manuais técnicos. Caderno de Atenção Básica. n.23. Brasília: DF; 2009.

4 Coelho LC, Asakura L, Sachs A, Erbert I, Novaes CRL, Gimeno SGA. Sistema de Vigilância Alimentar e Nutricional/SISVAN: conhecendo as práticas alimentares de crianças menores de 24 meses. Cien Saude Colet 2015; 20(3):727-738.
-55 Andrade HS, Pessoa RA, Donizete LCV. Fatores relacionados ao desmame precoce do aleitamento materno. Rev Bras Med Fam Comunidade 2018; 13(40):1-11..

Over the years, several studies have investigated the consequences of inadequate feeding practices on children’s health during the first thousand days of life66 Monteiro PO, Victora CG. Rapid growth in infancy and childhood and obesity in later life-A systematic review. Obesity Review 2005; 6:143-154.

7 Black RE, Victora CG, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, Onis Mercedes, Ezzati M, Grantham-McGregor S, Katz J, Martorell R, Uauy R, Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet 2013; 382(9890):427-451.
-88 Stirnemann J, Villar J, Salomon LJ, Ohuma E, Ruyan P, Altman DG, Nosten F, Craik R, Munim S, Cheikh Ismail L, Barros FC, Lambert A, Norris S, Carvalho M, Jaffer YA, Noble JA, Bertino E, Gravett MG, Purwar M, Victora CG, Uauy R, Bhutta Z, Kennedy S, Papageorghiou AT. International estimated fetal weight standards of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2017; 49: 478-486.. For example, malnutrition is linked to the world’s leading causes of death and is directly associated with inadequate food intake, especially early interruption of exclusive breastfeeding and inadequate complementary feeding practices99 Victoria CG, Onis M, Hallal PC, Blössner M, Shirimpton R. Worldwide timing of growth faltering: revisiting implications for interventions. Pediatrics 2010, 125(3): 473-480.

10 World Health Organization (WHO). Essential Nutrition Actions: Improving maternal, newborn, infant and young child health and nutrition. Geneva: WHO; 2013.
-1111 Matanda DJ, Mittelmark MB, Kigaru DM. Breast-, complementary and bottle-feeding practices in Kenya: stagnant trends were experienced from 1998 to 2009. Nutr Res 2014; 34(6):507-517.. In parallel, the literature from the last decades, has highlighted the increasing rates of overweight and obesity in childhood1212 World Health Organization (WHO). Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals. Geneva: WHO; 2009.

13 Emandi AC, Puiu M, Gafencu M, Pienar C. Overweight and obesity in school age children in western Romania. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi 2013; 117(1):36-45.
-1414 Hunsberger M. Early feeding practices and family structure: associations with overweight in children. Proc Nutr Soc 2014;(73):132-136.. According to global data, in 2016, almost 40.6 million children under five were overweight or obese1515 Fernandes G, Sridhar D. World Bank and the Global Financing Facility. BMJ 2017; 358:j3395..

Appropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices play a significant role in improving children’s health and nutrition. Some authors estimate that adequate and opportune complementary feeding, along with continued breastfeeding for up to two years, could save the lives of millions of children under the age of five per year1616 Jones AD, Ickes SB, Smith LE, Mbuya MN, Chasekwa B, Heidkamp RA, Menon P, Zongrone AA, Stoltzfus RJ. World Health Organization infant and young child feeding indicators and their associations with child anthropometry: a synthesis of recent findings. Matern Child Nutr 2014; 10:1-17.,1717 Cordero MJA, Lopez AMS, Banos NM, Villar NM, Ruiz ME, Rodríguez EH. Lactancia materna como prevención del sobrepeso y la obesidad en el niño y el adolescente; revisión sistemática. Nutr Hosp 2015; 31(2):606-620.. Also, they can provide significant benefits during adolescence and adulthood77 Black RE, Victora CG, Walker SP, Bhutta ZA, Christian P, Onis Mercedes, Ezzati M, Grantham-McGregor S, Katz J, Martorell R, Uauy R, Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet 2013; 382(9890):427-451..

Besides that, devices such as nipples, bottles, and mini baby bottles are sources of contamination, therefore unsafe for children, and are harmful to speech and chewing development, as well as to breast acceptance1818 Marques NM, Lira PIC, Lima MC, Silva NL, Batista Filho M, Huttly SRA, Ashworth A. Breastfeeding and early weaning practices in Northeast Brazil: a longitudinal study. Pediatrics 2001; 108(4):e66.

19 Soares MEM, Giugliani ERJ, Braun ML, Salgado ACN, Oliveira AP, Aguiar PR. Uso de chupeta e sua relação com o desmame precoce em população de crianças nascidas em Hospital Amigo da Criança. J Pediatr (Rio J) 2003; 79(4):309-316.
-2020 Brasil. Rede Internacional em Defesa do Direito de Amamentar (IBFAN). Alimentos para crianças de até 3 anos, bicos, chupetas e mamadeiras. 1ª ed. Jundiaí: IBFAN; 2007..

Some factors related to inadequate breastfeeding practices include: lower maternal age; low schooling level; negative previous experience with breastfeeding; lack of knowledge about the management of breastfeeding, its advantages, and negative consequences of the use of baby bottles, nipples, pacifiers and infant formulas; return to work in the immediate postpartum period; mother-child separation in the first months of life; lack of family support, depression and family violence22 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Pesquisa nacional de demografia e saúde da criança e da mulher. Secretaria de Ciência, Tecnologia e Insumos Estratégicos Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia. Brasília: MS, 2008.,44 Coelho LC, Asakura L, Sachs A, Erbert I, Novaes CRL, Gimeno SGA. Sistema de Vigilância Alimentar e Nutricional/SISVAN: conhecendo as práticas alimentares de crianças menores de 24 meses. Cien Saude Colet 2015; 20(3):727-738.,2121 Almeida JAG. Amamentação: um híbrido natureza-cultura. J Pediatr 2004; 80(Supl.5):119-125.

22 Brunken GS, Silva SM, Venâncio SI. Fatores associados à interrupção precoce do aleitamento materno exclusivo e à introdução tardia da alimentação complementar no centro-oeste brasileiro. J Pediatr 2006; 82(6):445-451.

23 Lindsay AC, Machado MT, Sussner KM, Hardwick CK, Peterson and Karen E. Infant-feeding practices and beliefs about complementary feeding among low-income Brazilian mothers: a qualitative study. Food Nutr Bull 2008; 29(1):15-24.

24 Silva LMP, Venâncio SI, Marchioni DML. Práticas de alimentação complementar no primeiro ano de vida e fatores associados, Rev Nutr 2010; 23(6):983-992.

25 Wasser H, Bentley M, Borja J, Davis Goldman B, Thompson A, Slining M, Adair L. Infants Perceived as "Fussy" Are More Likely to Receive Complementary Foods Before 4 Months. Pediatrics 2011; 127(2):229-237.

26 Kronborg H, Foverskov E, Vaeth M. Predictors for early introduction of solid food among Danish mothers and infants: an observational study. BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:243.
-2727 Pivetta HMF, BrazMM, Pozzebon NM, Freire AB, Real AA, Cocco VM, Sperandio FF. Prevalência de aleitamento materno e fatores associados: uma revisão de literature. Rev Cienc Med Biol 2018; 17(1):95-101..

Research on the relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and breastfeeding practices shows an association with interruption of exclusive breastfeeding in the first months of a child’s life, and more recently, with the introduction of fluids and solid foods before the fourth month of life2828 Moraes CL, Oliveira ASD, Reichenheim ME, Lobato G. Severe physical violence between intimate partners during pregnancy: a risk factor for early cessation of exclusive breast-feeding. Public Health Nutr 2011; 14(12):2148-2155.,2929 Zureick-Brown S, Lavilla K, Yount KM. Intimate partner violence and infant feeding practices in India: a cross-sectional study. Matern Child Nutr 2013; 11(4):792-802..

Results from a recent systematic review point to a lower likelihood to initiate breastfeeding and breastfeed, and a higher likelihood of discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding among women victims of violence. Also, IPV is associated with the introduction of breastmilk substitutes, mixed feeding practices , and early introduction of liquids and solid foods3030 Mezzavilla RS, Ferreira MF, Curioni CC, Lindsay AC, Hasselmann MH. Violência entre parceiros íntimos e práticas de aleitamento materno: uma revisão sistemática de estudos observacionais. J Pediatr 2018, 94(3):226-237.. It is also noteworthy that the age range included in the investigations is limited to the first six months of life.

The role of family environment in children’s growth and feeding practices has been investigated in recent research2727 Pivetta HMF, BrazMM, Pozzebon NM, Freire AB, Real AA, Cocco VM, Sperandio FF. Prevalência de aleitamento materno e fatores associados: uma revisão de literature. Rev Cienc Med Biol 2018; 17(1):95-101.,2929 Zureick-Brown S, Lavilla K, Yount KM. Intimate partner violence and infant feeding practices in India: a cross-sectional study. Matern Child Nutr 2013; 11(4):792-802.,3030 Mezzavilla RS, Ferreira MF, Curioni CC, Lindsay AC, Hasselmann MH. Violência entre parceiros íntimos e práticas de aleitamento materno: uma revisão sistemática de estudos observacionais. J Pediatr 2018, 94(3):226-237.. However, the relationship between intimate partner violence and breastfeeding practices in the first year of life should be further explored.

From this perspective, this study aimed to investigate the association of intimate partner physical violence and breastfeeding, use of breast milk substitutes and bottle feeding in the first year of life of children attended at primary care facilities of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Methods

Study design and population

This is a cross-sectional study whith information derived from a prospective cohort study that followed the first year of life of newborns attended at four primary care facilities of Rio de Janeiro from June 2005 to December 2009. The interviews with the mothers were held in the first, second, third, fifth, seventh, and thirteenth months of the child’s life.

In order to minimize loss to follow up, only the children who participated in the first two interviews made up the cohort baseline and were followed for subsequent months. Also, the interviews were scheduled to coincide with mothers’ return visits to the pediatrician or for child’s vaccination, according to the Ministry of Health’s vaccination schedule.

Inclusion criteria

The sample consisted of 217 mothers and their children who participated in the baseline and thirteenth-month interviews, that provided information about the outcome (feeding practices within the 24 hours before the interview) and about the exposure (intimate partner violence). This study included children up to 15 months of life who were single fetuses of biological mothers.

Data measurement and collection

The information used in this study was collected through interviews with pre-tested questionnaires conducted by previously trained researchers (nutritionists).

Outcomes: breastfeeding practices

Breastfeeding practices in the 24 hours before the interview were investigated in the thirteenth-month interview using a closed-ended question instrument adapted from those used in surveys on national multi-vaccination campaign days, which included questions on the consumption of breastmilk, other types of milk and other foods, including water, teas and other fluids.

The outcomes, Breastmilk (BM) and Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) - infant formula and/or cow’s milk -, were categorized dichotomously: received = 0, did not receive = 1. BMS. Besides these variables, we investigated baby bottle use, also categorized dichotomously.

Central exposure: intimate partner physical violence

Data regarding intimate partner violence were obtained by asking mothers about strategies used by them and their partners to resolve possible disagreements. The Portuguese version of CTS-1 (Conflict Tactics Scales - Form R)3131 Hasselmann MH, Reichenheim ME. Adaptação transcultural da versão em português da "Conflict Tactics Scales FormR" (CTS-1) usada para aferir violência no casal: Equivalências semântica e de mensuração. Cad Saude Publica 2003; 19(4):1083-1093., applied on the thirteenth-month of the child’s life, was used to collect this information.

The CTS-1 instrument contains 18 items and aims to measure the strategies used to resolve possible disagreements occurred twelve months before the interview and, indirectly, to identify a situation of violence. The form covers three tactics for dealing with conflict: “argumentation” (use of rational discussion - items a-c); “verbal violence” (verbal and nonverbal use for the purpose of threatening, injuring or hurting - items d-f, h-j); and “physical violence” (use of physical force to deal with conflict - items k-s). Overall Physical Abuse, in which explicit physical force is used, was subdivided into Minor Physical Abuse (items k-m; throwing things at one another; pushing or grabbing; slapping or smacking); and Severe Physical Abuse (items n-s; kicking, biting or punching; (attempting) hitting with objects; beating; strangling or suffocating; threatening with weapon/knife; or using them against each other).

Four answer options were available for each item on the scale: “Sometimes reacted this way”; “Often reacted this way”; “Already reacted this way, but not in the last 12 months”; “Never reacted this way”3232 Straus MA, Gelles JR. Physical violence in American families: risk factors and adoptions to violence in 8.145families. New Brunswick: NJ: Transaction Publishers; 1995..

The relationships appreciated were that of the partner concerning the mother and vice versa. Intimate partner physical violence (IPPV) was rated positively when women responded (1) or (2) to at least one of the items on the physical violence scale (items k-s), either as victim or perpetrator. This classification was also used for minor physical violence (items k-m) and severe violence (items n-s). The categories of violence: overall physical, minor physical, and severe physical were dichotomized as proposed by Straus3333 Straus MA. Measuring Intrafamily Conflict and Violence: The Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales J Marriage Fam 1979; 41(1):75-88..

Measuring covariates

The covariates investigated in this study were collected at baseline: possession of household items, social network, maternal schooling, maternal age, common mental disorders, and mother current working status.

The possession of household items was evaluated from the following items: stereo, washing machine, tumble dryer, steam iron, electric oven, freezer, multiprocessor, vacuum cleaner, microwave oven, computer, and DVD player. Considering the median distribution, the cutoff point >3 was considered to be the higher possession of household items.

The social network was measured through questions regarding the number of friends and relatives with whom the woman could rely on in the last 12 months3434 Chor D, Griep RH, Lopes CS, Faerstein E. Medidas de rede e apoio social no Estudo Pró-Saúde: pré-testes e estudo piloto. Cad Saude Publica 2001; 17(4):887-896.. This variable was dichotomously analyzed (0-2 and three or more relatives or friends).

Common mental disorders (CMD) were assessed using a 12-item instrument, namely, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)3535 Goldberg D, Williams P. A user´s guide to the general health questionnaire. [about 126 p.] UK: nfer-Nelson; 1988., with twelve items reflecting feelings of depression, anxiety, lack of confidence and inability to cope with typical situations. Each item had four answer options, and the first two were classified as lack of symptoms (0 points) and the last two as the presence of symptoms (1 point). After adding up scores, we obtained a scale from 0 to 12 and, from this scale, the mental disorders variable was classified into three categories: common mental disorders (≥ 3 positive responses), severe mental disorders (≥ 5 positive responses), and depressive symptoms (≥ 9 positive answers)3636 Hassan BK, Werneck GL, Hasselmann MH. Saúde mental materna e estado nutricional de crianças aos seis meses de vida. Rev Saude Publica 2016, 50(7):1-9..

Data processing and analysis

The questionnaires were checked, coded, and 100% of entries were reviewed, and a small percentage of errors was found and corrected. The software Epi Info 6.043737 Dean AG, Dean JA, Burton AH, Dicker RC, Coulombier D. EpiInfo, Version 6.04: a word processing, database, and statistics program for epidemiology on micro-computers. Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Centers for Disease Control; 1995. was used for data storage, and the analyses were performed using the R-Project version 2.11.1 statistical package3838 R Development Core Team. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 1993. and Stata 113939 StataCorp. Stata Statistical Software: Release 12. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP; 2011..

Initially, the prevalence of the dependent variables, central exposure, and covariates were estimated. Associations between covariates and breastfeeding practices were verified through the odds ratio (OR) estimates and respective 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

For the multivariate analyses, a logistic regression model adjusted by the covariates cited in the literature as relevant for this relationship was performed: possession of household items, mother current working status, maternal age, social network and CMD (suspected depression)44 Coelho LC, Asakura L, Sachs A, Erbert I, Novaes CRL, Gimeno SGA. Sistema de Vigilância Alimentar e Nutricional/SISVAN: conhecendo as práticas alimentares de crianças menores de 24 meses. Cien Saude Colet 2015; 20(3):727-738.,2525 Wasser H, Bentley M, Borja J, Davis Goldman B, Thompson A, Slining M, Adair L. Infants Perceived as "Fussy" Are More Likely to Receive Complementary Foods Before 4 Months. Pediatrics 2011; 127(2):229-237.,2626 Kronborg H, Foverskov E, Vaeth M. Predictors for early introduction of solid food among Danish mothers and infants: an observational study. BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:243.,4040 Barchi F, Winter SC, Dougherty D, Ramaphane P, Solomon PL. The association of depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence against women in Northwestern Botswana. J Interper Violence 2018 [online]; s.v.(s.n.). A power of 80% to detect as significant (p <0.05) an odds ratio of 1.6 was considered, taking into account the prevalence of non-breastfeeding among unexposed of 38%.

Ethical issues

The Ethics Committee of the Institute of Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro approved the project.

Results

Of the 217 children, 50,9% were male and had a mean age at the time of interview of 12,8 months ± 1,08. The prevalence of breastmilk consumption and its substitutes were 58,5% and 88,5%, respectively. Besides, it is noteworthy that more than 75% of the children used baby bottles. Concerning intimate partner physical violence, the prevalence of overall, minor, and severe physical violence was 26,7%, 25,8%, and 11,1%, respectively (Table 1).

Table 1
General characteristics of the population of four UBS in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 2005/2009.

Significant associations were observed in the bivariate analyses between overall physical violence and non-breastfeeding, as well as the supply of breastmilk substitutes and bottle feeding (Table 2).

Table 2
(Crude and Adjusted) Odds Ratios, 95% Confidence Intervals (95% CI) and significance level (p), between exposure variables and outcomes. Rio de Janeiro, 2005/2009.

In multivariate analyses, the associations remained significant even after adjusting for covariates (possession of household items, mother current working status, maternal age, social network, and suspected depression). Couples mutually physical abuse each other are 2,14 times more likely not to offer breastmilk (CI 1,06-4,31), 5,15 times more likely to provide breastmilk substitutes (CI 1,13-23.4) and 2,71 times more likely to use a baby bottle (CI 1,19-6,16), compared to couples who do not physically abuse each other (Table 2).

Discussion

This study pioneered the evaluation of the relationship between IPPV and breastfeeding practices of children in the first year of life. The results show that physically abusive couples are twice as likely not to offer breastmilk, five times as likely to offer breastmilk substitutes, and twice as likely to bottle-feed their children, compared to couples who do not physically abuse each other.

In general, previous studies investigating intimate partner violence as a risk factor for improper child feeding practices have focused on breastfeeding practices in the first months of life, such as the lower intention to breastfeed4141 Sipsma HL, Divney AA, Magriples U, Hansen N, Gordon D, Kershaw T. Breastfeeding intentions among pregnant adolescents and young adults and their partners. Breastfeed Med 2013; 8(4):374-380., early discontinuation of exclusive breastfeeding2828 Moraes CL, Oliveira ASD, Reichenheim ME, Lobato G. Severe physical violence between intimate partners during pregnancy: a risk factor for early cessation of exclusive breast-feeding. Public Health Nutr 2011; 14(12):2148-2155.,2929 Zureick-Brown S, Lavilla K, Yount KM. Intimate partner violence and infant feeding practices in India: a cross-sectional study. Matern Child Nutr 2013; 11(4):792-802.,4242 Misch ES, Yount KM. Intimate partner violence and breastfeeding in Africa. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18(3):688-697., lower likelihood of initiating breastfeeding4242 Misch ES, Yount KM. Intimate partner violence and breastfeeding in Africa. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18(3):688-697.,4343 Lau Y, Chan KS. Influence of intimate partner violence during pregnancy and early postpartum depressive symptoms on breastfeeding among chinese women in Hong Kong. J Midwifery Womens Health 2007; 52(2):15-20. and shorter duration of breastfeeding4444 Sipsma HL, Magriples U, Divney A, Gordon D, Gabzdyl E, Kershaw T. Breastfeeding behavior among adolescents: initiation, duration, and exclusivity. J Adolesc Health 2013; 53(3):394-400..

In a literature review on the consequences of domestic violence on child growth, Yount et al.(45 )observed that maternal physical, nutritional, and mental health mediated this effect. The authors pointed out that from risk behaviors, such as inadequate prenatal and childcare, they led to unfavorable outcomes for child nutritional status.

Also, other authors suggest that abused women may have low self-esteem, lack of autonomy and physical and mental disabilities to perform their daily activities, such as choosing and preparing food, eventually offering formulas, and they further point out that depression and maternal anxiety can result in reduced social support and breastfeeding care4646 Silverman JG, Decker MR, Reed E, Raj A. Intimate partner violence victimization prior to and during pregnancy among women residing in 26 U.S. states: Associations with maternal and neonatal health. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2006; 195(1):140-148.

47 McLearn KT, Minkovitz CS, Strobino DM, Marks E, Hou W. Maternal Depressive Symptoms at 2 to 4 Months Post Partum and Early Parenting Practices. Arch Pediatr Adolesc 2006; 160(3):279-284.

48 Fried LE, Cabral H, Amaro H, Aschengrau A. Lifetime and During Pregnancy Experience of Violence and the Risk of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Birth. J Midwifery Womens Health 2008; 53(6):522-528.

49 Muller RT, Goebel-Fabbri AE, Diamond T, Dinklage D. Social support and the relationship between family and community violence exposure and psychopathology among high risk adolescents. Child Abuse Negl 2000; 24(4):449-464.

50 Rodriguez E, Lasch KE, Chandra P, Lee J. The relation of family violence, employment status welfare benefits and alcohol drinking in the United States. West J Med 2001; 174(5):317-323.
-5151 Surkan PJ, Ryan LM; Vieira LM; Berkman LF; Peterson KE. Maternal social and psychological conditions and physical growth in low-income children in Piauí, Northeast Brazil. Soc Sci Med 2007; 64(2):375-388.. Thus, it is possible to point out women’s mental health as an intervening variable in the relationship between IPPV and suboptimal breastfeeding practices.

Concerning feeding with breastmilk substitutes, besides the mother/child-related risks, feeding with infant formula increases the consumption of dwindling resources and accumulation of non-biodegradable waste, repercussions in the household’s budget, as well as consequences concerning changes in the mother-baby bond5252 World Health Organization (WHO). Infant and young child feeding. Geneva: WHO; 2014.

53 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). ENPACS : Estratégia Nacional Para Alimentação Complementar Saudável: Caderno do Tutor / Ministério da Saúde, Rede Internacional em Defesa do Direito de Amamentar (IBFAN). Brasília: MS; 2010.
-5454 World Health Organization (WHO). Report of the commission on ending childhood obesity. Geneva: WHO; 2016..

Although the current recommendation by the competent bodies is that children between 6 months and 2 years of age should receive family food and breastmilk33 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Saúde da criança: nutrição infantil. Aleitamento materno e alimentação complementar. Séria A, normas e manuais técnicos. Caderno de Atenção Básica. n.23. Brasília: DF; 2009.,5252 World Health Organization (WHO). Infant and young child feeding. Geneva: WHO; 2014.,5353 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). ENPACS : Estratégia Nacional Para Alimentação Complementar Saudável: Caderno do Tutor / Ministério da Saúde, Rede Internacional em Defesa do Direito de Amamentar (IBFAN). Brasília: MS; 2010., according to WHO, less than one in five children are breastfed for 12 months in high-income countries, and only two out of three children between 6 months and 2 years of age receive breastmilk in low- and middle-income countries5454 World Health Organization (WHO). Report of the commission on ending childhood obesity. Geneva: WHO; 2016..

Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants as a source of nutrients, although alone may not meet nutrient and energy needs from the sixth month of life. Also, the benefits of continued breastfeeding are established for both mother and child, such as a lower risk of breast cancer among women and a lower likelihood of childhood obesity5555 Horodynski MA, Stommel M.Nutrition education aimed at toddlers: an intervention study. Pediatr Nurs 2005; 31(5):364, 367-372.,5656 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).Complementary feeding. In: Kleiman RE, Ed.Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 6ª ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009..

Concerning partner violence, in the population studied, 26,7% of couples physically abused each other, and about 11% severely did so. Research on the magnitude of intimate partner violence has intensified over the years. For example, a population-based, cross-sectional study in the urban area of Florianópolis revealed the prevalence of experiencing any physical violence (17%), moderate physical violence (16,6%) and severe physical violence (7,3%) between men and women. The authors observed that the more severe the act of violence, the higher the occurrence of violence against women5757 Lindner SR, Coelho EBS, Bolsoni CC, Rojas PF, BoingAF. Prevalência de violência física por parceiro íntimo em homens e mulheres de Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brasil: estudo de base Populacional. Cad Saude Publica 2015; 31(4):815-826.. Also, most physical abuse victims are subjected to various violent acts over long periods5858 Gartland D, Hemphill SA, Hegarty K, Brown SJ. Intimate Partner Violence During Pregnancy and the First Year Postpartum in an Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study. Matern Child Health J 2010; 15(5):570-578.,5959 Mohammad HE, Sahraean L, Bahrami T. Domestic abusebefore, during and after pregnancy in Jahrom, Islamic Republic of Iran. East Mediterr Health J 2010, 16(7):752-758..

It is worth mentioning that the studied populations are diverse, that these studies investigated different types of violence and used different instruments in their measurements, thus hindering comparison of their findings. Despite these discrepancies, this is a high-scale event, and efforts must be made in order to improve this situation. The construction of strategies that encourage dialogue and promote the exercise of a peace culture seems to be the path to achieving this aim6060 Wathen CN, MacGregor JCD, Hammerton J, Coben JH, Herrman H, Stewart DE, MacMillan HL, Rede de Pesquisa PreVAiL. Priorities for research in child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and resilience to violence exposures: results of an international Delphi consensus development process. BMC Public Health 2012; 12:684.

This study has some significant limitations. While cross-sectional, one could identify that the time of exposure to violence, 12 months before the interview, was associated with breastfeeding practices, observed from the 24-hour recall, ensuring a cause-effect temporality.

The outcomes measuring also deserves comments. This process used a 24-hour recall, which has pre-defined foods and closed-ended response options. Carvalhaes6161 Carvalhaes MABL, Parada CMGL, Manoel CM, Venâncio SY. Diagnóstico da situação do aleitamento materno em área urbana do Sudeste do Brasil: utilização de metodologia simplificada. Rev Saude Publica 1998; 32(5):430-436. found that the use of current data on infant feeding minimizes errors related to the informant’s memory. Also, poor diet variety of children under one year of age makes the 24-hour recall a useful tool for assessing the food intake of this age group, mainly when it already contains the list of the main foods consumed by infants, which leads to reducing data collection errors when using this method. The advantage of using this method is the lower probability of change in eating habits since information is collected after consumption6262 Buzzard M. 24-hours dietary recall and food record methods. In: Willett WC. Nutritional Epidemiology. 2ª ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1998..

Also, noteworthy is that this study uses a scale to measure IPPV adapted to the Brazilian population and whose psychometric properties are adequate, which is fundamental for the success of these investigations on violence.

In light of these considerations, the findings of this research point to the relevance of IPPV in determining the practices of breastfeeding children between 12 and 15 months of age. Although several factors have been pointed out in the literature as determinants of these practices, so far, no other study has studied this relationship with IPPV in this age group and national contexts.

The identification of intimate partner violence is essential for the implementation of victim support strategies, and these findings contribute to the elaboration of promotion and prevention actions, both concerning the eating habits of children in the first years of life and intimate partner violence. These strategies must incorporate family violence as another factor related to the inadequate introduction of food, interruption of continued breastfeeding, family food choices and, consequently, as another target for intervention.

It is also highlighted that violence is a complex phenomenon that involves not only one individual but all members of the family33 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Saúde da criança: nutrição infantil. Aleitamento materno e alimentação complementar. Séria A, normas e manuais técnicos. Caderno de Atenção Básica. n.23. Brasília: DF; 2009.,6363 Assis SG, Avanci JQ, Pesce RP, Ximenes LF. Situação de crianças e adolescentes brasileiros em relação à saúde mental e à violência. Cien Saude Colet 2009; 14(2):349-361.,6464 Brasil. Ministério da Saúde (MS). Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. Por uma cultura da paz, a promoção da saúde e a prevenção da violência / Ministério da Saúde, Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde, Departamento de Atenção Básica. Brasília: MS; 2009b.. Health facilities are strategic places of action, since women and children, in general, are those who most seek health services due to physical, mental, or emotional damage. Also, the complex context surrounding the victim and its relationship with the perpetrator makes coping with violence extrapolate health services, requiring the involvement of different sectors such as public safety, justice, and labor, as well as the involvement of organized civil society, setting up integrated service networks.

Conclusion

This study pioneered the investigation of the relationship of IPPV and practices of breastfeeding children in the first year of life. Physical violence between couples is associated with not breastfeeding and using bottles. Violence affects not only the victim but all family members, especially women, who are primarily responsible for the care of their children and family feeding practices.

A closer perspective of health professionals on aspects related to these events may assist the decisions of violence victims to address the conflict situation, stimulate their autonomy, and improve their relationship with feeding practices.

Collaborations

RS Mezzavilla and MH Hasselmann were responsible for the conception and design of the study, performed the analysis and interpretation of the data, prepared, revised and approved the final version of the manuscript. GVB Vianna and AC Lindsay prepared, revised and approved the final version of the manuscript.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    28 May 2021
  • Date of issue
    May 2021

History

  • Received
    08 Apr 2019
  • Reviewed
    24 July 2019
  • Accepted
    26 July 2019
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