Objective: to systematically analyse the Nepalise grandmother's own perspective of breast feeding.
Design: a qualitative approach was used. Three focus-group discussions and eight semi-structured interviews formed the primary database. All interviews and discussions were tape recorded, and translated transcripts and field notes were analysed.
Setting: Makwanpur District, rural Nepal.
Participants: 31 Tamang mothers-in-law living in a household with their son's family, and taking part in child care.
Findings: the data suggest that the mothers-in-law see themselves as key providers of, and decision-makers in, perinatal care practices. Traditional patterns of promotive and preventive care were identified.
Key conclusions: contrary to the widespread reports that early breast feeding is delayed in this setting, these grandmothers held colostrum in high regard, used no prelacteals and supported early initiation of breast feeding.