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Table 5 Case of a mother, recent migrant who struggled with issues of basic survival and poverty, and believed she had no option but to exclusively breastfeed

From: “Everybody breastfeeds if they have milk”: factors that shape exclusive breastfeeding practices in informal settlements of Mumbai, India

This case was of a 32-year-old woman who stayed in a rented house with her husband and five children. Her husband drove an auto (a three-wheeler cab) for a living. In the previous year, a fire had destroyed their house- and all their possessions.
“You must have heard about the fire, for one month my children were here and there, they didn’t get proper food or milk, because of that she (the baby) fell ill. After that, she didn’t get well at all, she had lost so much weight. I could not give her a massage. We didn’t have a house. There was problem in food, water, bathing”.
This mother believed that she had no option but to practice EBF. She could not afford to buy supplements. She did not believe that her breastmilk was adequate for her child since she perceived her own diet to be inadequate. She expressed worries about her child falling sick often and wondered if this was due to inadequacies in her breastmilk. In her words:
“From the time she was 3–4 months old, she keeps getting cold and cough. I think if she eats rice and lentils, she will not fall sick. Maybe my milk does her harm”
In this case, it was clear that the woman did not believe in the benefits of EBF; but she practiced it since she perceived herself as having no choice.